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Tennessee: Employee Protection Legislation Becomes Law and Apprentice Hunting Bill Awaits Committee Hearing

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tennessee: Employee Protection Legislation Becomes Law and Apprentice Hunting Bill Awaits Committee Hearing

In great news for Tennessee gun owners and Second Amendment supporters, Governor Bill Haslam (R) signed into law Senate Bill 1058, employee protection legislation, late Monday, April 6.  SB 1058 passed in the Tennessee Senate on March 23 by a 28 to 5 vote.  The same day, the House version, House Bill 994, was conformed to its Senate companion.  SB 1058 passed in the Tennessee House of Representatives on March 23 by a 78 to 14 vote.  SB 1058 takes effect on July 1, 2015.

SB 1058 will provide a cause of action against an employer for an employee who becomes terminated or receives adverse employment action based solely on the lawful transportation or storage of a firearm or ammunition in a personally owned vehicle on an employer’s parking lot.  This law will now provide a much-needed remedy to the current law as well as protection for employees who follow it.  It is not an offense to lawfully store a firearm in a locked vehicle in an employer’s parking lot.

Your NRA-ILA would like to thank all legislators who voted in support of this legislation, especially Senator Mark Green (R-22), who sponsored SB 1058, and Representative Curry Todd (R-95), who sponsored HB 994 in the House of Representatives.  Thank you to members and those who contacted their legislators on behalf of this bill, as passage would not have been possible without your active support.  

Last week Senate Bill 1237, sponsored by state Senator Mike Bell (R-09), passed the Tennessee State Senate on a unanimous vote.  Its companion bill, House Bill 1079, sponsored by state Representative Ron Travis (R-31), was recommended for passage by the House Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee today and could be heard by the full House Finance, Ways and Means Committee as early as next week. SB 1237 and HB 1079 would strengthen Tennessee’s rich hunting heritage by expanding Tennessee’s apprentice program for those who want to try hunting.

Currently, Tennessee law exempts individuals at least 10 years of age from taking hunter education before trying hunting with the purchase of an apprentice hunting permit (as well as the required hunting licenses and permits). When going afield, the apprentice hunter must be accompanied by a licensed hunter at least 21 years of age or older who is hunter-education-certified or otherwise exempt by law. SB 1237 and HB 1079 would expand the existing program so that new hunters could purchase the apprentice hunting permit for up to three consecutive years instead of only once per lifetime. This increase in opportunity to buy the apprentice hunting permit furthers the goal of recruiting new hunters by giving them more time to experience new hunting adventures in the field.

Lengthy hunter education requirements often discourage potential hunters from going afield because they are unwilling to dedicate the necessary time to complete the course in order to pursue an activity that they are simply trying out.  The apprentice license program allows them to experience hunting while under the supervision of a mentor.  Eventually, the goal is for these apprentices to complete a hunter education course so they can hunt on their own, which has largely been the case in the states with similar programs.  Apprentice hunting license programs throughout the country have issued more than 1 million licenses to date and these hunters have proven to be safer than all other classes of hunters in what is already one of the safest recreational activities in America.

Please contact your state Representative TODAY, and urge him or her to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1237 and House Bill 1079 when these pro-hunting bills come before them for consideration.

Your NRA-ILA will keep you updated on further second amendment legislation in Tennessee as it becomes available.

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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.