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Update on Pending Pro-Gun Legislation in the Volunteer State

Friday, March 13, 2009

The following is an update of NRA-backed bills that are currently working through the legislature.  Please contact your State Senator and State Representative and respectfully urge them to support all of the NRA-backed bills listed below without any restricting amendments.  For contact information or help identifying your State Legislators, please click here.  For Tennessee Legislature Committee information please visit http://www.capitol.tn.gov/committees/ .

Senate Joint Resolution 30, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), proposes an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution recognizing citizens’ right to hunt and fish.  The final language of the Resolution incorporates NRA’s model language and provides truly meaningful protections against the anti-hunting activists who seek to ban all hunting in America.  The ultimate adoption of this constitutional amendment will preserve Tennessee’s rich hunting and fishing traditions for generations to come.  SJR 30 has passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has moved to the Fish and Wildlife Committee where it is expected to be voted on next week. 

Senate Bill 264, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25), would authorize Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) to issue sport fishing and hunting licenses at no cost to Tennessee residents who are 100 percent disabled and receive social security disability.  SB 264 has been referred to the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee.  House Bill 569, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), is the companion bill to SB 264.  On Tuesday, March 10, the House Subcommittee on Conservation and Environment recommended HB 569 for passage.

Senate Bill 309, sponsored by State Senator Andy Berke (D-10), would grant a shooting range that has been in operation for at least 30 years prior to December 16, 2008, the right to continue operating at the same location without fear of being restricted or terminated due to zoning changes.  This bill is expected to be heard on Tuesday, March 17, in the Senate State and Local Government Committee.  Please contact members of the Committee in support of this range protection measure.  Please ask them to consider NRA's reasonable suggested amendment to include ranges that have been in operation for 10 years or more.  House Bill 1736, sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42) is the companion bill to SB 309.

Senate Bill 576, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would allow a person who has a valid Right-to-Carry permit, to carry a firearm into restaurants where alcohol may be served, as long as the permit holder is not consuming alcohol or is not otherwise prohibited by posting provisions.  SB 576 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  House Bill 1807, sponsored by State Representative Ben West (D-60), is the companion bill to SB 576.  HB 1807 is currently in the House Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure.

Senate Bill 842, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would authorize persons with handgun permits to carry a handgun while hunting big game during bow-hunting deer season.  SB 842 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.   House Bill 770, sponsored by State Representative Mike Turner (D-51), is the companion bill to SB 842. HB 770 is currently in the House Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure. 

Senate Bill 1403, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would allow a person who has received voluntary inpatient mental health care to apply for a handgun carry permit if the hospitalization occurred at least five years earlier, and the applicant attaches a statement from a doctor that he/she does not pose an immediate risk of serious harm due to mental illness.  SB 1403 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.  House Bill 1748, sponsored by State Representative Eddie Bass (D-65), is the companion bill to SB 1403.  HB 1748 is currently in the House Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure.

Senate Bill 1908, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” would prohibit the sale of micro-stamped firearms or ammunition in Tennessee.  This pro-active preventive measure is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  House Bill 1924 sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), is the companion bill to SB 1908 and has been referred to the House Judiciary’s Sub-committee on Criminal Practice and Procedure. 

House Bill 254, sponsored by State Representative Glen Casada (R-63), would delete the requirement to give a thumbprint as part of the background check process when purchasing a firearm.  HB 254 passed the House 82-11 on Thursday, March 12.  It has been referred to the Senate.  Senate Bill 554, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is the companion bill to HB 254 and is expected to be voted on favorably.

House Bill 716, sponsored by State Representative Frank Niceley (R-17), would allow any resident who has a valid handgun carry permit to possess a handgun while within the boundaries of any state park.  HB 716 was recommended for passage by the House Judiciary without amendments and has been referred to the House Calendar and Rules Committee.  Senate Bill 976, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), is the companion bill to HB 716.  SB 976 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 959, sponsored by State Representative Eddie Bass (D-65), would ensure the privacy of handgun permit holders by making records of permit applications and renewals confidential.  Any public disclosure of this information would be a Class A misdemeanor.  HB 959 is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary on Wednesday, March 18.  Please contact members of the House Judiciary and ask them to support HB 959 with the NRA-backed amendment that clarifies the constitutionality of the measure.  HB 959 and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee and Senate Bill 1126, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is the companion bill.

House Bill 960, sponsored by State Representative Harry Tindell (D-13), would authorize a person with a handgun carry permit to possess a firearm while in local, state or federal parks.  HB 960 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, March 18.  Senate Bill 1518, sponsored by State Senator Mae Beavers (R-17), is the companion bill to HB 960, and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

House Bill 961, sponsored by State Representative Mike Bell (R-26), would authorize a person with a handgun carry permit to possess a firearm in a refuge, public hunting area, wildlife management area, or on national forest land.  HB 961 has been referred to the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Budget.   Senate Bill 1519, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), is the companion bill to HB 961.

House Bill 2313, sponsored by State Representative Mike Turner (D-51), would authorize the Department of Safety to present the service weapon to the spouse or child of an officer killed in the line of duty.  HB 2313 has not yet received a committee assignment.  Senate Bill 2276, sponsored by State Senator Jim Kyle (D-28), is the companion bill to HB 2313.

House Bill 2376, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), would modify the methods of disposing of certain confiscated firearms.  HB 2376 would prohibit the destruction of confiscated firearms and require them to be auctioned off or sold to federally licensed firearms dealers.  Proceeds from the sale of these firearms would be used to benefit of law enforcement agencies.  HB 2376 is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure next Wednesday, March 18. Senate Bill 2334, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), is the companion bill to HB 2376, and is currently in the Senate Judiciary. 

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