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Tennessee: Update on Several Pro-Gun Bills!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Please Contact Your State Legislators Today!

Several pro-gun bills have been passed by the Tennessee Legislature, but a number of other bills still need your support. 

The following is an update on NRA-backed bills that are currently working their way 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 www.capitol.tn.gov/committees/.

Several pieces of pro-gun legislation are currently pending action in various stages of the legislative process in Nashville.

House Bill 70, sponsored by State Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), would remove the prohibition against using deadly force in protection of property. HB 70 overwhelmingly passed the House on March 19 by a vote 89 of 1 and will now 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 tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 passed out of the Finance Ways and Means Budget sub-committee without any amendments on April 1 and has been placed on the calendar to be heard by the full committee tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14. 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 in the coming weeks.

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 who dies in the line of duty. HB 2313 has been referred to the State and Local Government Committee and is expected to be heard tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14.  Senate Bill 2276, sponsored by State Senator Jim Kyle (D-28), is the companion bill to HB 2313. SB 2276 unanimously passed the Senate on Thursday, April 9.

Senate Joint Resolution 30, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D- 25), would propose 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 hunting all over America. The ultimate adoption of this constitutional amendment will preserve Tennessee’s rich hunting and fishing heritage for generations to come. SJR 30 is currently in 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 print the text of the proposed amendment in newspapers.

Senate Bill 264, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25), would authorize the 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 passed out of the Senate Environment, Conservation and Tourism Committee unanimously on April 7.  House Bill 569, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), is the companion bill to SB 264. HB 569 is still pending in the House Committee on Conservation and Environment.

Senate Bill 1127, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), would enable 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 1127 passed out of the Senate Judiciary on April 8 without any restricting amendments.  It was amended from its original language to remove the age restricted venue provision.  SB 1127 now heads to Calendar Committee to be scheduled for a full Senate voteHouse Bill 962, sponsored by State Representative Curry Todd (R-95), is the companion bill to SB 1127.  HB 962 passed the House Floor on April 6 by a vote of 70 to 26.  It was amended to include a 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. restriction on the possession of a firearm in a restaurant that serves alcohol.  It enables a permit holder to carry in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages as long as that person is not consuming alcoholic beverages and the restaurant is not an age-restricted venue. Please contact your Senator and respectfully encourage them to vote for SB 1127.

House Bill 82, sponsored by State Representative Johnny Shaw (D-80), would authorize 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 passed the House on April 2 by a vote of 85 to 10 and is now heading to the Senate. Senate Bill 19, sponsored by State Senator Dolores Gresham (R-26), is the companion bill to HB 82 and is expected to be heard soon by 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. HB 959 was amended to allow for the sharing of statistical information. HB 959 is pending in the Finance Ways and Means Budget sub-committee and is expected to be heard Wednesday, April 22.  Please contact members of the sub-committee and request that no further amendments be attached.  Senate Bill 1126, sponsored by State Senator Mark Norris (R-32), is the companion bill to HB 959. SB 1126 was amended to allow the release of permit information to the office of the comptroller to ensure the Department of Public Safety is complying with state law relative to the issuance of carry permits. SB 1126 is expected to be voted on by the Senate in the coming weeks.

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 was amended by the House Judiciary to allow local government bodies to maintain control of concealed carry within the local parks. Please continue to contact your Representative and express your opposition to this amendment that will create a confusing patchwork of carry laws across the state. Please contact Speaker Kent Williams (Carter County, R- 4) and thank him for speaking in the House Judiciary Committee against the local parks amendment.  Please also contact bill sponsor State Representative Harry Tindell and thank him for his continued work on this important piece of Right-to-Carry legislation.  HB 960 passed the Finance Ways and Means Committee on April 7 and now heads to Calendar and Rules Committee to be scheduled for a full House vote.  Senate Bill 1518, sponsored by State Senator Mae Beavers (R-17), is the companion bill to HB 960. SB 1518 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is expected to be heard in the coming weeks.

House Bill 46 and House Bill 254 are awaiting consideration by Governor Phil Bredesen (D).  At this time, no action is required in support of these two bills.

House Bill 46, sponsored by State Representative Joshua Evans (R-66), would prohibit 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.

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

Please continue checking your email and www.NRAILA.org for updates on these bills.

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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.