For a while, it looked like constitutional carry was a slam dunk in Tennessee. The governor wasn’t just on board, he was pushing for it. His party controlled both chambers of the legislature. The people of Tennessee were cool with it. It was a perfect storm of what was needed to make constitutional carry a reality in the Volunteer State.
Then COVID-19 reached the shores of our fair nation.
While the virus has managed to spike a number of gun control bills, there’s a chance it might well do the same thing to constitutional carry in Tennessee.
In the 2020 legislative session in Tennessee, several bills were submitted, with considerable differences. Then, the Covid-19 virus, or Wuhan Flu, caught the attention of the legacy media and federal, state, and local governments.
On 19 March, 2020, the Tennessee legislature temporarily recessed, stopping legislative action. Constitutional Carry, which had been endorsed by the Governor, the majority leader in the House, and the Majority leader in the Senate, is dead in the water. The legislature hopes to resume the session on 1 June. From tenessean.com:Although lawmakers hope to return as early as June 1, the continued uncertainty of coronavirus has led some members to wonder when it might be safe to return to Nashville to continue their business for the year.
The Tennesee legislature was scheduled to be in session from 14 January, 2020, to 1 May, 2020. It is unknown how long the legislature may be in session after resuming the session on 1 June.
The legislature passed the budget on 19 March; there is little incentive for them to take up much work. 2020 is an election year, and legislators will wish to get out and campaign. Republicans hold supermajorities in both houses, so Democrats have incentive to limit the session as much as possible. Actions on HB2817, and SB2671 were put on hold as of 18 and 17 of March, respectively.
This shows how events can derail the best laid plans. No one planned for a pandemic to shut down the legislature for over two months.
How high a priority passage of Constitutional Carry was to the legislature is unknown. If it had been a priority, it could have been passed rather quickly.
And that is the real question.
If it’s a high enough priority, this could still happen for Tennesseans. The thing is, it’s not overly likely.
To be sure, this is likely to be one of the least productive legislative sessions for every state in ages. After all, just how many bills are actually going to be passed with legislatures having such abbreviated sessions?
But some bills will get passed. It just remains to be seen whether constitutional carry will be one of them.
However, the governor came out and acknowledged his desire to see this become law. That suggests it may be a rather high priority, especially if it can be passed with minimal fuss. So not all hope is gone.
Yet a lot of attention may also be focused on restoring the economy, which may draw attention away from something like constitutional carry. At this point, it could go either way.
So while we’ve seen a lot of gun control bills fall apart due to the virus, it’s not all roses on that front either.