Tennessee Gun Legislation -What You Should Know
Fox17 reported that the Tennessee House and Senate will debate several pieces of gun legislation on Tuesday. Tennessee gun legislation may become more restrictive than it has been in the past if any of these bills pass the full legislature.
HB 1461, and SB 1472:
“Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, creates the Class E felony offense of purchasing, selling, possessing, or using a part, component, device, or attachment designed to accelerate the fire of a semi-automatic rifle and makes any semi-automatic rifle that includes an accelerated fire part, component, or device a prohibited weapon. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.”
Note here that “part, component, device, or attachment” is meant for bump stocks. But with all the extra wording, it could be construed to go far beyond that item.
“I wonder if these experts in the law and public policy realized that this legislation could make it a felony to possess a belt, rubber bands or shoestrings.” Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris
While Mr. Harris’ statement sounds facetious, the issue of expanding definitions for any accessory or part to any firearm could become a problem for all gun owners in the near future. Competition shooters who modify their trigger mechanisms could potentially be in trouble.
HB 2302 and SB 2356
Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, creates Class A misdemeanor of person purchasing a used or second-hand firearm if that person is disqualified from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer; makes second or subsequent violation a Class E felony. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.
The NRA reported that this bill was amended, though such amendments don’t show in the official bill remarks. The NRA stated:
“it would impose an arbitrary age limit on purchasing commonly-owned firearms by creating a broad definition of so-called “assault weapons” that includes centerfire semi-automatic rifles with a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, a semi-automatic pistol that is threaded for a suppressor or the capacity to hold a fixed magazine with more than 10 rounds.”
SB 670 and HB 0961: Creation of a “Red Flag Law”
Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, authorizes the issuance of a security temporary order of protection that a law enforcement officer may seek to prevent a restrained person from being able to lawfully possess a firearm when the officer believes that the person is a danger to the person or another. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13
HB 2208 and SB 2563
“Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, allows private certified firearms instructors to train teachers in certain distressed rural counties who are allowed to carry concealed firearms on school property as well as being taught by the local law enforcement agency. – Amends TCA Section 49-6-816.”
The problem with this bill is that it only includes “certain distressed rural counties.” It should be a statewide idea, and bring about strong training requirements for any teacher or school staff member who is allowed to carry a concealed weapon on school property. Its sponsors are from Chester and Wayne counties.
HB 2550 and SB 2609
“Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, requires the state board of education to develop academic standards for a firearm education course to be offered as an elective for high school students; course to include history, mathematics, and science related to firearms and to include firearm safety education, but no use or presence of live ammunition. – Amends TCA Title 49, Chapter 6.”
This bill goes before the Education Instruction & Programs committee on Tuesday. My problem with this “elective class” is that it needs to be taught by a legitimate firearms owner, not some left wing gun hater. Many of us grew up in states that had Hunter Safety classes. The way this is worded makes us wonder- will it end up as a twisted liberal class rather than a genuine study of firearms?
HB 2575 and SB 2430
“Tort Liability and Reform – As introduced, authorizes civil action against person selling or transferring firearm if firearm sold or transferred without a background check and firearm used in crime resulting in injury to person or property or wrongful death. – Amends TCA Title 29 and Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.”
This bill, once again has wording that is not specific to certain transactions, such a relatives gifting firearms to relatives, or other private sales etc. If this is aimed at firearms dealers, it needs to specify that, otherwise a lot of families could be liable for family idiots. Up until now, there was no law in Tennessee that prescribed background checks for private gun sales. Does this change that? It’s unclear.
Tennessee’s preemption statute “prevents localities from enacting any new laws regulating the use, purchase, transfer, taxation, manufacture, ownership, possession, carrying, sale, acquisition, gift, devise, licensing, registration, storage, and transportation of firearms and ammunition. The current statute also preempts any existing local law, ordinance or regulation concerning firearms, ammunition or their components.”
These gun laws up for debate on Tuesday will change that dramatically. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile.