By: D.J. Parten
Gun owners across Tennessee were thrilled last year when Gov. Bill Lee declared his support for Constitutional Carry and announced his intent to back this important legislation.
Unfortunately, Lee decided to back a bill that some gun rights activists referred to as “Confused Carry” during the 2020 legislative session.
The “Confused Carry” bill ultimately did not pass, but as the 2021 legislative session approaches, multiple sources inside the capitol report that Lee’s staff is encouraging him to support this poorly written gun bill instead of true Constitutional Carry once again.
True Constitutional Carry would restore the right of law-abiding citizens to carry a firearm openly or concealed without a government permit.
If someone can legally possess a firearm, he or she should be able to carry it without any extra requirements or fees.
Instead of enacting such policy, the “Confused Carry” bill would tie the right to carry with the ability to get a permit, which could result in law-abiding gun owners being thrown in jail for unknowingly violating the law.
As GPM reported in 2020, numerous gun rights organizations oppose this bill, including the National Association for Gun Rights, Tennessee Firearms Association, and Tennessee Carry.
“It’s sloppy lawmaking that inevitably will get thrown to courts where the law will be butchered or, worse, get a gun owner thrown in jail,” Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, said of the bill in an email to NAGR members.
Tennessee has Republican supermajorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, and there is no reason they shouldn’t be able to pass true Constitutional Carry.
Even with the loud calls from grassroots gun owners urging them to fix the bill, many lawmakers opted to settle for this compromise.
As a result, at least two Republican lawmakers lost their bids for reelection for ignoring the calls of their constituents and opting to support something less than true Constitutional Carry.
It seems like Gov. Lee’s administration has not been paying attention to the demands of gun owners, but there is still time for him to do the right thing and support nothing less than true Constitutional Carry.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Senior Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.
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