Why are Tennessee’s Republicans ignoring Constitutional Carry before the hearings the week of March 9

I have heard through the grapevine that the gun bills are being heard in committee the week of March 9 – next Tuesday & Wednesday. Call your legislators and encourage them to co-sponsor these critical bills!

As I write this, NOT ONE House member has co-sponsored Rep. Rick Womick’s Constitutional Carry (HB0535) legislation and only one senator (Sen. Mark Green) has co-sponsored the Senator Mae Beavers’ Senate version of Constitutional Carry (SB0780).

If your Senator or Representative has not co-sponsored Constitutional Carry! Why not?  You should call and know why!  Do they oppose it?  Do they support it?  Why are they missing in action on the 2nd Amendment?

In 2014, Sen. Beavers’ legislation on Open Carry (a partial step toward Constitutional Carry) passed the Senate 25-2 before it was killed in a House subcommittee.  Sen. Beavers has an Open Carry bill again this year (SB0784), yet not a single senator has joined her as a co-sponsored this session. Nearly every senator voted for it last session but they are again missing in action in 2015.  If your senator is someone other than Mae Beavers, he or she has not co-sponsored Constitutional Open Carry! Why not?  Is Sen. Mae Beavers the only Senator who will stand up against leadership and the governor to protect your rights under the 2nd Amendment?

Politicians like to say they are pro-Second Amendment to get elected. It’s time for them to prove it by co-sponsoring these bills!

Join me in calling our legislators to demand that they co-sponsor and vote for these bills or explain to you why they refuse to do so:

Bill Number Talking Points
HB0535 / SB0780 Constitutional Carry: Carry concealed or openly without a government permit but which still provides for an optional permit for reciprocity and other purposes (such as eliminating the $10 fee for permit holders on new purchases).
Constitutional Carry is already the law in 5 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Vermont, Wyoming) and moving to become law in several more.  Approximately 30 states have at least some form of Constitutional Carry that is more constitutionally sound than Tennessee including every state that touches Tennessee except for Georgia.  The states that already have this law have proven that it does not increase gun crime.  The current Tennessee system is a $115 “poll tax” infringing on your right to defend yourself and to carry arms under the 2nd Amendment and the Tennessee Constitution.

HB0684 / SB0784 Permitless Open Carry: Carry openly without a government permit.  A permit would still be required to carry concealed.  Approximately 30 of the 50 states already have this type of law (including 7 of the 8 states that border Tennessee)!  If open carry was a crime control issue, it would be hard to imagine why it is the law in 30 states without any crime data to show that it is more dangerous in those states.  Criminals do not generally open carry and, frankly, do not care if they have a permit.

HB0274 / SB0314 Local Parks Carry  Current law makes all state and federal parks accessible to handgun permit holders.  However, the legislature caved in 2008 to the demands of local governments (do they vote?) and allowed local governments to ban firearms in locally managed or controlled parks and greenways.  The 2008 law and crime data prove that there is no material risk to allowing citizens to carry firearms in state or federal parks.  Banning handgun permit holders from local parks, greenways, and nature areas has proven confusing and needlessly endangers people, particularly in large parks and greenways with remote areas  You should not be prohibited from exercising your constitutional rights on public property purchased with your money

HB1341 / SB1110 Prohibits state and local funds and personnel from being used to enforce federal laws and regulations of firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories.  The Constitution does not grant the federal government authority to regulate firearms within the State of Tennessee or any other state. To the contrary, it says “shall not be infringed.”  The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution reserves such powers to the states.  Tennessee should enforce its own laws and regulations of firearms but should not aid the federal government at the expense of Tennesseans to enforce federal laws or programs particularly those that many feel violate the 2nd Amendment and the enumerated powers doctrine.

Why should you believe or support any legislator who tells you that they are 2nd Amendment supporters, that they believe the constitutions are the bedrock of our government or that they are “good on guns” if those legislators will not stand as sponsors on these bills?  You should not.  Call and let them know you expect to see their names as sponsors and as votes on these bills before they are in committee next week.  If they refuse, its time to start looking for someone to replace them in 2016.

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