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Update on Pending Legislation in the Volunteer State

Friday, March 27, 2009

The following is an update on 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 in the coming weeks.  Please contact Senate Leadership and ask them to include the one-time $20,000 fiscal note attached to SJR 30 in the budget.  This is a one-time publication cost of $20,000 to local governments in the fall of 2010 for each county election commission to print the text of the proposed amendment in a newspaper of general circulation in the county. No additional voting expenses will be incurred since the question will be included on the regular general election ballot.

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.  HB 569 still resides in the House Committee on Conservation and Environment.

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 was taken off notice in the Senate Judiciary sub-committee on Wednesday, March 25.  Please contact Senator Jackson and ask him to amend Senate Bill 576 to include no additional restrictions on permittees carrying in restaurants other than a prohibition on alcohol consumption.  SB 576 is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8 in 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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.

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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.   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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.  Please contact the bill sponsors and ask them to expand this bill to include muzzle-loading season.  

Senate Bill 1129, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is Right-to-Carry reform legislation that allows persons with valid handgun carry permit to carry in public parks, public postsecondary institutions, and places where alcoholic beverages are being served so long as that individual is not consuming alcohol.  It also allows judges to carry firearms where law enforcement can carry if they have a permit or appropriate training.  House Bill 724, sponsored by State Representative Brian Kelsey (R-83) is the companion bill to SB 1129 and is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary Criminal Practice Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 1.

Senate Bill 1261, sponsored by State Senator Dewayne Bunch (R-9), authorizes all full-time faculty and staff at any public postsecondary institution in the state who have a valid handgun carry permit to carry handguns at all times upon the premises of the institution at which they are employed.  SB 1261 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.  House Bill 798 is the companion bill to SB 1261 and is sponsored by State Representative Stacey Campfield (R-18).  HB 798 is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary Criminal and Practice Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 1.

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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.

Senate Bill 1607 sponsored by State Senator Mae Beavers (R-17), allows the transportation and storage of a firearm in a locked vehicle and prohibits employers and nongovernmental entities from prohibiting persons possessing a handgun carry permit from transporting and storing a firearm out of sight, in a locked vehicle, on any property set aside for vehicles.  SB 1607 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.  House Bill 1793 is the companion bill to SB 1607 and is sponsored by State Representative Ben West (D-70).  HB 1793 is expected to be heard in the House Judiciary Criminal Practice Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 1.

Senate Bill 1908, the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would prohibit the sale of micro-stamped firearms or ammunition in Tennessee.  This preventive measure is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.  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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1. 

House Bill 46, sponsored by State Representative Joshua Evans (R-66), prohibits the Department of Safety or any department-approved handgun safety employee from requiring an applicant for a carry permit to furnish any identifying information concerning any handgun the applicant owns or possesses.  HB 46 passed the House 88-2 on Thursday, March 19, and now heads to the Senate for consideration. Senate Bill 32, sponsored by State Senator Jim Tracy (R-16), is the companion bill to HB 46 and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 32 is now expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1. 

House Bill 70, sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), removes the prohibition against using deadly force in protection of property.  HB 70 passed the House 89-1 on Thursday, March 19, and will next be considered by the Senate.  Senate Bill 474, sponsored by State Senator Andy Berke (D-10) is the companion bill to HB 70.  SB 474 is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.

House Bill 82, sponsored by State Representative Johnny Shaw (D-80), authorizes current and retired judges who possess a handgun carry permit to carry a firearm under the same circumstances and conditions as law enforcement officers and correctional officers.  HB 82 has been placed on the House calendar for Thursday, April 2.  Senate Bill 19, sponsored by State Senator Dolores Gresham (R-26), is the companion bill to HB 82 and is expected to be heard in the Senate Judiciary on Wednesday, April 8. 

House Bill 112, sponsored by State Representative Mike Bell (R-23), authorizes the carrying of handguns by persons with a handgun carry permit on public hunting areas and wildlife management areas and subjects such persons to all wildlife laws, rules, and regulations.  HB 112 is currently in the House Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.  Senate Bill 40, sponsored by State Senator Dewayne Bunch (R-9) is the companion bill to HB 112.  SB 40 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8. 

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, by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 1. 

House Bill 390, sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), would allow handgun carry permit holders to possess or carry a loaded rifle, loaded shotgun, or loaded magazine or clip while in a motor vehicle.  HB 390 passed the House 82-10 on Thursday, March 19, and will next be considered by the Senate.  Senate Bill 578, sponsored by Senator Doug Jackson, is the companion bill to HB 390.  SB 578 is currently in the Senate Judiciary and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8. 

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 has been referred to the Finance Ways and Means Budget sub-committee.  Please contact members of the sub-committee and ask them to support an amendment that removes the fiscal note requiring new signage.  Existing materials can be used to fix any signage.  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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.

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.  HB 959 was amended to allow for the sharing only of statistical information.  HB 959 passed the House Judiciary Committee by a 6-4 vote on Wednesday, March 18.  This important privacy measure did move to the Calendar and Rules Committee, but was then re-referred to Finance Ways and Means Budget sub-committee and will not be heard until Wednesday, April 1.  Senate Bill 1126, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is the companion bill to HB 959 and is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  SB 1126 is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.  

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 amended to allow for a local government body to maintain control of carry within the local parks.  Please contact your Representative and express your opposition to this amendment that will create a confusing patchwork of carry laws across the state.  Please also contact Speaker Kent Williams (Carter County R- 4) and thank him for speaking in the House Judiciary Committee against the local parks amendment.  HB 960 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 25 and has now been referred to the Finance Ways and Means Budget sub-committee where it is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.  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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8.

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 an amendment that contains specific language that negates the effect of the bill and then provides additional language that may even be argued to restrict access to certain areas.  Please contact your Representative and ask them to remove the restricting language.  HB 961 has been referred to the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Budget and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.   Senate Bill 1519, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), is the companion bill to HB 961 and is expected to be heard by the Senate Judiciary on Wednesday, April 8.

House Bill 2313, sponsored by State Representative Eddie Bass (D-65), would authorize the Department of Safety to present a law enforcement officer’s service weapon to the spouse or child of an officer killed in the line of duty.  HB 2313 has been referred to the State and Local Government Committee and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1.  Senate Bill 2276, sponsored by State Senator Jim Kyle (D-28), is the companion bill to HB 2313 and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee and is expected to be heard on Tuesday, March 31.

House Bill 2376, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), would modify the methods of disposing of certain confiscated firearms, and would prohibit the destruction of confiscated firearms, instead requiring them to be auctioned or sold to federally licensed firearms dealers.  Proceeds from the sale of these firearms would be used to benefit law enforcement agencies.  HB 2376 is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 1 in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Practice and Procedure.  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 and is expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 8. 

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.