A Franklin pastor has voiced concerns over proposed permitless carry legislation in Tennessee, calling on Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly to oppose the bill.
Kevin Riggs, pastor of Franklin Community Church, joined two other Tennessee pastors during a virtual event Wednesday hosted by the Southern Christian Coalition, an organization of Tennessee faith leaders aiming to weigh in on issues of policy from a Christian perspective.
Riggs, along with Rev. Laura Becker of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga and Associate Pastor Eugene Sebree of Jefferson St. Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, expressed opposition to legislation that would allow Tennesseans to carry guns without obtaining a permit.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe from gun violence in their community,” Riggs said. “While our shared strength has been tested by the natural disasters of viruses and storms, our state is now facing a test of our willingness to prevent disasters of our own making.”
Last year, the Tennessee General Assembly introduced a bill (Senate Bill 0318/House Bill 0018) that would allow those 21 and older to carry a firearm without a permit and without undergoing the current education requirements, not including carry within restricted areas. This bill was one of many stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has been picked back up by the legislature this year.
Riggs shared concern that allowing permitless carry would not only increase gun-related homicide, but suicide as well. [full article]