Republican Party in Tennessee Promotes Gun Bill Over Law Enforcement Concerns

Nashville, Tennessee (AP) — When Tennessee legislators called for increased penalties for demonstrators calling for police reform last summer, they did so in the name of supporting law enforcement. But when police advocates demanded that most people carrying pistols not remove their background checks and training requirements, Republicans in charge of the Capitol were clearly unresponsive.

Support for this year’s unauthorized carry bill praises law enforcement agencies, praising law enforcement, ignoring the same officials’ criticism of law enforcement that would remove the last trace of permission requirements for most gun owners. It reflects the unpleasant tension between the tendencies of the person.

The Tennessee debate is lively as state leaders call for tighter gun control in the aftermath of two mass shootings.President Joe Biden Asked Congress to act, And his fellow Democrats say they are pushing for the opposite of Tennessee’s action: expanding background checks. However, Congress has not passed major gun controls since the mid-1990s, leaving the most important gun controls in the hands of the state. In the state, new legislation tends to focus on expanding rights.

Tennessee police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors argue that it is imperative to defend the state’s existing gun permit system, determine who can legally carry guns, and eliminate those who do not. Did. They warn that removing such requirements could be more dangerous to executives and the community.

“Our MPs continue to show off their support for law enforcement, but for anyone who voted for this dangerous unlicensed carry bill, it’s clear that it’s an empty word,” he said. Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, a volunteer at the Moms Demand Action branch in Tennessee, said. We advocate the safety of guns.

“All major law enforcement agencies in Tennessee, along with business leaders, healthcare professionals, and religious leaders, oppose the bill. We work with them to fight to ensure that the bill is never legislated. I will cooperate, “she added.

Law enforcement agencies that oppose current law, called “constitutional carry” by supporters, include the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Sheriffs Association, and the Tennessee Police Chiefs Association.

“Since 1996, almost 25 years of successful implementation, the existing permitting process has helped our citizens well,” a group of sheriffs recently wrote to the House of Representatives. “The pistol carrying permit process provides methods and procedures that enable the verification and verification of legitimate pistol carrying.”

While testifying against the bill, TBI Senior Policy Adviser Jimmy Musice prevented approximately 5,500 people from carrying weapons as Tennessee’s pistol permit system flagged them as ineligible. I told lawmakers that I helped.

“We have no problems. Those who are legally allowed to carry it uphold the basic policy of having a gun and protecting themselves,” Musice said. “The permitting process can actually do that by knowing if the person is really legal.”

However, these concerns have been neglected or ignored by Governor Bill Lee and Republicans.

Lawmakers who support the bill argue that such risks are acceptable in the name of strengthening the right to possess weapons guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. They say the bill will increase certain gun-related penalties, which they say improve safety by severely punishing those who were already trying to ignore the law.

A recent mass shooting on Monday Georgia And Colorado Lee expressed concern about timing and said that increasing penalties meant “in fact, strengthening laws that would help prevent future gun crime.”

Others point out that law enforcement groups have been opposed to loosening gun permit restrictions for years.

“We love and respect law enforcement officers, but few bills recognize the rights of citizens of the state to carry law enforcement agencies,” said GOP State Senator Mike Bell, who sponsors the bill. ..

The quiet avoidance of law enforcement concerns contrasts with the remarks of many Republicans last year when hundreds of thousands gathered across the state and the United States to protest the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. ..

Legislatures in Tennessee not only blamed those who demanded funding and reduced spending on police stations, but also continued to attack to punish protesters who were camp outside the Capitol for police reform. I did. When the General Assembly met at a special legislative assembly last August, Republican members set up protesters’ targets as a clear choice.

“You can spit on their faces by supporting or voting against our law enforcement officers,” said Republican leader William Lamberth at the time.

Lee signed the bill.

This year, the Republican governor made unauthorized bills a top priority. The bill is currently at his desk and he will soon sign it. The push happens after Lee signed a law to ease the state’s pistol law in 2019 by allowing him to obtain a hidden carry-only permit that does not require him to show his ability to fire weapons.

When asked about law enforcement agencies against the bill earlier this year, Lee described the feedback as “important.”

“You can protect the Second Amendment, and at the same time protect the citizens of our state,” Lee told reporters.

This year’s bill allows adults over the age of 21 and military personnel between the ages of 18 and 20 to open and hide carrying pistols without permission. If the bill is passed, certain penalties will be strengthened. For example, a gun theft (currently a misdemeanor with a 30-day sentence) is a felony that requires six months in prison. There are also exceptions for people with certain mental illnesses or criminal records.

Nationwide, at least six states are considering similar measures this year, supporters are eager to join nearly 20 other states that do not currently require a hidden carry permit, and more than 30 states permit. Allows open carry without.