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Tennessee Legislative Update

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Tennessee General Assembly is winding down session for the summer, but several bills still remain on the calendar and in front of Governor Phil Bredesen (D).  These pro-gun bills need your support today. 

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 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 is currently stalled in the Finance Ways and Means Committee because it has a fiscal note.   

Please contact Governor Phil Bredesen (D) and ask him to include the one-time $20,000 fiscal note attached to SJR 30 in the 2010 budget. This is a one-time publication cost of $20,000 to print the text of the proposed amendment in the newspapers. The Governor can be reached by phone at (615) 741-2001 or email Phil.Bredesen@tn.gov. 

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/. For contact information or help identifying your State Legislators, please click here.

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. The Senate amended HB 82 removed those circumstances and conditions, limiting their right to carry to be during the actual discharge of their official duties as a judge.  The House failed to concur on this amendment, sending HB 82 to a conference committee.  No official date has been set for the conference committee to meet.

House Bill 898, sponsored by State Representative Eric Watson (R-22), broadens the definition of “law enforcement officer” to include retired law enforcement officials.  It also expands the right to carry by an active law enforcement official to more geographical locations.  HB 898 passed the House on June 6 with an 89 to 6 vote.  Senate Bill 1273, sponsored by Senator Dewayne Bunch (R-9), is the companion bill to HB 898 and is expected to be amended to prevent municipalities from regulating firearms through liquor licenses.  SB 1273 is expected to be voted on by the Senate Tuesday, June 16. 

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 will be heard as early as Monday, June 15. 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 despite this already being common practice. SB 1126 is expected to be voted on by the Senate Tuesday, June 16.

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 and will be heard on Tuesday, June 16. Senate Bill 1519, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), is the companion bill to HB 961. SB 1519 has been referred to the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee and is expected to be voted on Monday, June 15.

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 law enforcement agencies. HB 2376 passed the House unanimously 98-0 on May 18. Senate Bill 2334, sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (R- 25), is the companion bill to HB 2376, and is expected to be heard in Senate Tuesday, June 16.

The following bills below are unlikely to pass out this session due to the attachment of fiscal notes:

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.  House Bill 569, sponsored by State Representative David Shepard (D-69), is the companion bill to SB 264.

Senate Bill 1557, sponsored by State Senator Tim Burchett (R-7), requires the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) commission to establish by rule how it will implement the federal "Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004," relative to the carrying of firearms by qualified and retired law enforcement officers. House Bill 1117, sponsored by State Representative Glen Casada (R-63), is the companion bill to SB 1557.

Governor Bredesen currently has two NRA-backed bills sitting on his desk that have to be signed by midnight TONIGHT! 

House Bill 716 and House Bill 390 are waiting to be signed by the Governor.  Please make your voices heard in support of these important pieces of legislation.

HB 716 would allow any resident who has a valid handgun carry permit to possess a handgun while within the boundaries of any state park. 

HB 390 would allow handgun carry permit holders to possess or carry a rifle or shotgun with a loaded magazine provided the firearm does not have a round in the chamber, while in a private motor vehicle.  

The Governor can be reached by phone at (615) 741-2001 or email Phil.Bredesen@tn.gov. 

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NRA ILA

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.