House Committee defeats “safe storage” mandate

A House Committee has defeated an effort to impose a “safe storage” mandate on Tennessee’s firearms owners.

March 22, 2016

The House Civil Justice Committee voted 7-2 to against a bill (HB2058) by Rep. Sherry Jones (D. – Nashville) that would have required all firearms owners in Tennessee to securely lock their firearms (or unload them and separate the ammo from the “vicinity” of the firearm).  A similar bill was offered in the Senate by Sen. Sarah Kyle under SB2294.

The bill proposed criminal penalties, up to Class C felony charges, if an individual failed to secure a firearm in accordance with the elements of the legislation if a child under the age of 13 a) obtained access to the firearm, b) accessed the firearm and discharged in but did not cause death to another or c) accessed the firearm and discharged it causing death.  The bill as amended would have imposed these storage mandates on adults who did not have children under the age of 13 living in the home.

The bill was poorly written and had all the earmarks of being primarily an effort to enforce a belief that firearms – all firearms – must be kept locked up and secured at all times unless in the immediate possession of an individual who could legally possess it.

TFA met with the Senate sponsor to discuss the bill and urged that a better approach might be to propose legislation that would require that all schools in the state teach firearms awareness and safety programs that were designed to teach children and young adults about the proper role that firearms hold in this nation and how to safely and responsibly act around firearms.  This training approach could include increased support and funding by the state for scholastic shooting programs and a state policy that would override local education associations prejudices against firearms, air rifles and other shooting sports programs.

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