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TN – GUN RIGHTS – Tennessee constitutional carry bill gets House subcommittee approval

A Tennessee subcommittee has advanced legislation that would permit individuals to conceal or open carry a handgun without a permit, but gun-rights advocates say the bill doesn’t go far enough and gun-control advocates say it goes too far. The legislation, House Bill 2817, would remove all criminal penalties for a person carrying a firearm without a permit as long as that person otherwise would have qualified for a permit. A person who would have had his permit revoked would not be allowed to carry. It still would require a person to obtain a permit to carry a firearm in a city park. Violations of some gun laws also would see stricter penalties under this legislation, including increasing the mandatory minimum for firearm theft from 30 days to 180 days. “It increases our liberties here in Tennessee, and, at the same time, it is tough on those criminals out there that would abuse the privilege and the right to carry a firearm,” the bill’s primary sponsor, House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, told the House Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee on Tuesday. Lamberth said that the right to bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. He said current Tennessee law sets a criminal penalty for a person who tries to exercise that right without first receiving permission from the government, which is what he is trying to stop. Although Lamberth said he would encourage a person to take classes if he or she is going to carry a weapon regularly, he does not believe it’s the government’s role to mandate it. Gun-rights supporters testified in front of the subcommittee to support constitutional carry, but also urged the subcommittee to adopt amendments that further protect gun rights.  [full article]

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