Tennessee Legislators Ponder New Firearms Bills


If enacted into law, a new bill moving along in the Tennessee General Assembly would require people to accept enhanced handgun carry permits and concealed handgun carry permits as valid forms of government-issued photo IDs.

The bill, by State Rep. Rusty Grills (R-Dyer County) would equivocate these types of government IDs with driver’s licenses for access to goods, service, and facilities, according to the language.

Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) Executive Director John Harris, in an email to TFA members, wrote about the bill as it went through a legislative subcommittee this week.

“Rep. Bo Mitchell spoke against the bill further exhibiting for the third time in the same hearings that he should be removed at least from this committee because he seems to lack fundamental understandings of the scope and purpose of the 2nd Amendment,” he wrote.

“The bill passed the subcommittee and moves forward to full judiciary. As an aside, congratulations to Rep. Rusty Grills as this may have been his first bill presentation.”

Mitchell (D-Nashville) did not return The Tennessee Star’s repeated requests for comment Wednesday.

When asked, Grills described what happened in the legislative subcommittee this way:

“I don’t want to say he (Mitchell) spoke out against the bill,” Grills said. “He asked some questions about the bill as far as the ability for it to be used as a valid form of ID to go to the polling precinct to go vote.”

Grills said no one voted against the bill. The representative also said he thinks it will clear the Tennessee General Assembly and go to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for the governor’s signature.

Harris, in his email to TFA members, also wrote about two other bills related to firearms.

One, by State Rep. Chris Todd (R-Madison County) says that a person who uses justifiable force against another may request a stay of proceedings in any civil action based on the use of force. This, until the criminal investigation has concluded, according to the language of the bill.

The bill creates an immunity hearing at which the court may dismiss an action that is barred by immunity, according to the bill’s language.

Another bill by State Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland) extends the validity of newly issued or renewed enhanced handgun carry permits for the lifetime of the permit holder. This,  unless the permit holder no longer meets the requirements for an enhanced handgun carry permit, according to the language of the bill.

– – –

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Concealed Carry” by Clinger Holsters. CC BY-ND 2.0.






Related posts

2 Thoughts to “Tennessee Legislators Ponder New Firearms Bills”

  1. Ron Welch

    In the Tennessee Constitution’s Declaration of Rights, Article I, Section 26, the citizens of our State have a right to keep and bear (carry) arms for their self defense. It is unlawful to require a permit, payment and background checks to exercise that right or any right.

  2. William R. Delzell

    If one no longer needs a permit to carry a firearm, will this also mean the end of background checks to make sure the possessor, male or female, of the gun does not have a history of violent offenses, such as domestic violence, anger management problems, etc.? It’s okay for responsible law-abiding people to have firearms, provided they are trained in how to use these weapons and how to safely store them when not in use. My paternal grandfather had firearms that he used only for two things: to hunt and to protect his home from intruders. He had hunting rifles and possibly a pistol for around the house, but no assault weapons. He always taught his children how to practice safety whenever using a gun. He also had a cabinet to lock up his guns when not in use. I don’t know if he ever carried a weapon with him when on errands or doing work. Knowing his frugality, I doubt it.

    What concerns me with the lack of a permit requirement, you will probably have people who don’t have adequate training in weapons-use or who may be careless who, without meaning any harm, might accidentally let their guns go off in a public place, hitting an innocent bystander.

    When we drive a car, we have to have either a learner’s permit (accompanied by a licensed driver or a drivers’ licence. We do that for a reason: to make our streets safer. Why should the same principle not apply to individuals with weapons? I worry about some needless death or injury caused by somebody not required to have a license.