A significant majority of likely Republican primary voters in Tennessee support constitutional carry, according to results of The Tennessee Star Poll released this week.
When asked, “In 2018, the Tennessee General Assembly is also expected to reconsider a bill that would allow Tennesseans to carry firearms without obtaining a state issued permit, which is commonly known as ‘Constitutional Carry.’ Do you support or oppose Constitutional Carry in Tennessee? ” 57 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they favored it, while only 32 percent said they opposed it:
38.5% strongly support
19.1% somewhat support
11.9% somewhat oppose
20.8% strongly oppose
9.8% Don’t know/unsure
The poll of 1,007 likely Republican primary voters was conducted by Triton Polling and Research in an automated (IVR) telephone survey between May 31 and June 5 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
“Based on my experience talking to people and explaining constitutional carry, I think 57 percent understates the support for constitutional carry in Tennessee,” John Harris, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, tells The Tennessee Star.
“This is because people think constitutional carry will eliminate the possibility to get handgun permits for reciprocity purposes in other states,” he adds.
“Even with the understatement, we feel this poll presents a mandate to the Tennessee General Assembly to enact constitutional carry next session, as 14 other states have done,” he notes.
“I think the opponents may be overstated because people incorrectly think they will lose access to hand gun permits for reciprocity purposes,” the TFA executive director says.
“The bills we have introduced the last three years make the permits optional,” Harris concludes.
This past session, the constitutional carry bill was sponsored in the State Senate by State Senator Mark Green (R- Clarksville) initially, and after Green’s nomination to become Secretary of the Army, State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) took over sponsorship duties. In the House, State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden), sponsored the bill.
“My bill was defeated in Civil Subcommittee in a voice vote,” Holt tells The Star.
But Holt, like Harris, is not deterred.
“I will continue to introduce constitutional carry legislation until we are able to achieve it,” Holt says.
“Any time we look at something where the core of our voters support something pretty commandingly, as The Tennessee Star Poll shows is the case with constitutional carry, 57 for and 32 against, that’s pretty commanding, I definitely think we have a mandate to introduce and pass that legislation,” Holt tells the The Star.
State Rep. Micah Van Huss (R-Gray) introduced a similar bill that differed slightly from Holt’s bill but had a similar fate this session.
The constitutional carry bill sponsored by Green and Roberts did not go forward in the State Senate after the Holt billed died in the House. Roberts tells The Star he is disappointed in how the Haslam administration has dealt with the issue.
“In 2010 I was present at the Tennessee Firearms Association meeting where Bill Haslam said if constitutional carry was passed in Tennessee he would sign it into law. So, many of us over the past seven years that the bill has been repeatedly flagged for failure by the Haslam administration have been disappointed. It is my great hope that the next Governor of Tennessee will support constitutional carry. As we have repeatedly observed over and over again, criminals do not get permits to carry,” Roberts tells The Star.
Roberts adds that constitutional carry will also be introduced in the State Senate again next year.
“One or both of us, Mark Green or I, will introduce constitutional carry in the State Senate yet again in the session of the Tennessee General Assembly that begins in 2018,” he promises.
“The mandate to enact constitutional carry in Tennessee comes from the Constitutions, both state and federal, not just a poll,” Roberts concludes.
One thing is clear, thanks to results of The Tennessee Star Poll: Likely Tennessee Republican primary voters want to see constitutional carry enacted into state law.
In previous stories on the results of The Tennessee Star Poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters, The Star reported that:
- President Trump’s approval rating among Tennessee Republicans is sky high.
- No gubernatorial candidate has more than 10 percent support and the race is wide open.
- Senator Bob Corker’s re-election bid is in trouble.
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn is statistically tied in a one-on-one matchup with Senator Corker in a potential 2018 Republican U.S. Senate primary.
- Opposition to in-state tuition for illegal aliens is close to unanimous: 84 percent to 11 percent.
- A Republican gubernatorial candidate who promises to repeal the gas tax increase is more likely to receive the support of 48 percent of likely Republican primary votes and less likely to receive the support of 29 percent of likely Republican primary voters.
You can read the complete top line results of The Tennessee Star Poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary conducted between May 31 and June 5 here:Tennessee Star Poll of Likely Republican Primary Voters Released June 6 2017