TN bill would turn some gun carriers into law enforcement

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As someone who carries a gun regularly and who supports carrying a gun in any way, shape, or form an individual chooses to, I often have to get into a whole thing with anti-gunners about how I don’t think I’m a law enforcement officer.


The police have a specific job to do, but that job doesn’t include protecting me and mine. They might want to, but they simply don’t have the resources to protect each and every person.

I’m under no illusions about whether I’m a cop or not.

However, in Tennessee, a bill seeks to make things a bit more interesting in that regard.

Legislation introduced in the Tennessee state legislature this month is raising alarms from the state’s police union and gun control advocates who say it could turn the streets into the “old West.”

Two bills in the state assembly and state senate, HB 254 and SB 2523, would amend Tennessee law and designate “a person who has been issued an enhanced handgun carry permit” as a member of law enforcement.

“As introduced, expands the definition of ‘law enforcement officer’ to include a person who has been issued an enhanced handgun carry permit; provided, that the permit is not suspended, revoked, or expired, for purposes of authority to carry a firearm under certain circumstances,” the summary for the bill reads on the Tennessee General Assembly website.

Jonathan Gold, a Michigan-based firearms instructor and member of the non-profit Giffords Gun Owners for Safety, told ABC News the bill would encourage more vigilantism that would ultimately lead to more harm.

“I don’t understand our regression to the old West, because this is what it feels like,” he told ABC News. “I’ve studied the old West, and I don’t think anyone wants to go back to the murder rate of Tombstone.”


Well, someone who claims to be a firearms instructor and a member of Giffords is surely the expert in all of this.

To be fair, this bill seems a little weird. The article notes it has only one co-sponsor and isn’t scheduled for any committee hearings. There’s not much chance of it passing, at least this year, so it doesn’t matter what Giffords or the NRA think of this.

To be fair, I’m not entirely sure what I think of it, either.

Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be classified as a law enforcement officer simply because of the kind of concealed carry permit I have. After all, police officers are bound by rules that I, frankly, don’t want.

On the other hand, as law enforcement, I’d imagine they’d be covered under the Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act (LEOSA). That would be, in effect, 50-state reciprocity, though some states make it ridiculously difficult for even police to carry a gun in their state.

This is one of those matters that would require a lot of thought and debate, but could actually go either way as to whether it benefits gun owners or not.


Ultimately, depending on the way things are worded, it could ultimately be a good thing. Since it’s unlikely to ever get a vote, though, it won’t really matter. Exit question(s): why on earth is a national outlet like ABC News even bothering to cover a bill that’s not likely to get a hearing?

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