The 108th General Assembly of Tennessee adjourned sine die on Friday, April 19. Tennesseans experienced quite a few victories this legislative session that protect the Second Amendment, as well as some disappointment when comments were made that disregarded the intent of a bill attempting to protect citizens’ right to self-defense during their commute to and from work. However, this legislative session represents significant reform that will restore and protect the rights of responsible gun owners and sportsmen.
Tennesseans who possess a valid Handgun Carry Permit (HCP) can breathe a sigh of relief now that House Bill 9 has passed in both legislative chambers and was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam (R). Sponsored by state Representative William Lamberth (R-44), HB 9 makes all information pertaining to HCP holders confidential and not open for public inspection or publication. This privacy protection legislation went into effect upon the Governor’s signature yesterday. Tennessee becomes the 39th state to enact such permit confidentiality legislation.
House Bill 6, the School Security Act of 2013, sponsored by state Representative Eric Watson (R-22), seeks to provide more protection for children and staff during school hours. HB 6 was amended multiple times during this legislative session and was finally agreed upon by the House and the Senate to allow a person employed or assigned to a Local Education Agency to possess and carry a firearm on the grounds of that school if they are current or former law enforcement. This individual would also be required to have a HCP and the written authorization of the director of schools. HB 6 currently awaits approval from Governor Haslam.
Senate Bill 714, sponsored by state Senator Stacey Campfield (R-7), reforms the Right-to-Carry statute, by allowing someone who has undergone voluntary treatment for alcohol or substance abuse to apply for a HCP within three years of completing such a treatment. SB 714 passed in both legislative chambers by an overwhelming vote and Governor Haslam signed it into law yesterday. Under the previous law, there was no distinction between a voluntary or involuntary treatment and required a person to wait 10 years before being eligible to apply for a HCP. Senate Bill 714 takes effect on July 1, 2013.
Senate Bill 142, sponsored by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (R-4), had the intent of allowing a person with a valid HCP to transport and store a firearm or ammunition in the permit holder's privately-owned motor vehicle in public or private parking areas under certain conditions. Unfortunately, some legislators attempted to derail and erode the bill. Governor Haslam signed SB 142 into law on March 14 and it takes effect on July 1, 2013. Your NRA-ILA will continue to monitor this situation closely and work with legislators to put stronger provisions in place next session that would protect Tennessee’s responsible citizens.