“In 2014, Tennessee implemented a law allowing gun owners to legally tote their loaded firearms in their vehicles even if they don’t have a state-issued handgun-carry permit,” wreg.com reports. “[Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings] said in 2013, before the law went into effect, there were only 378 guns stolen from cars . .. MPD recovered more than 2,700 stolen guns in 2016. ‘Laws have unintended consequences,’ said Rallings. ‘We cannot ignore that as a legislature passes laws that make guns more accessible to criminals that has a direct effect on our violent crime rate.'” So close . . .
The real problem here: Tennessee gun owners can’t take their guns with them when they leave their cars. I’m thinking it’s because TN gun owners can’t take their gun with them when they leave their vehicle. There are two reasons for that: TN’s onerous permitting process and the prevalence of “gun free zones.”
A box-fresh eight-year Volunteer State handgun permit costs $100, and $50 to renew. The applicant must “submit proof of the successful completion of a department approved Handgun Safety Course.” Those cost about $65 to $75 — not including the gun. The class runs eight hours.
Memphis’ per capita income is $21,909 (33 percent of residents live below the poverty line). The time, expense and perhaps background check requirements of TN’s permitting process make it unlikely many gun-toting Memphis drivers have one, making it illegal for them to take their guns with them when they leave their car.
Even if Memphis drivers do have a permit, the existence of so-called “gun-free zones” makes it impossible (or at least legally inadvisable) for drivers to bring their gun with them.
While many Memphis businesses allow permit holder to carry on their premises — hats off to Kroger for resisting Moms Demand Action’s push to ban them in the stores — many do not. (List here.) The Wolfchase Mall and the tourist mecca of Beale Street, for example, are “gun free” zones.
Given there’s no good (and inexpensive) way to secure a firearm in a vehicle save locking it in the trunk, there are two ways to tackle Memphis’ unattended guns-in-cars thievery problem: make Tennessee a permitless or Constitutional Carry state so all gun owners keep their firearm with them at all times, and eliminate or at least reduce “gun free” zones.
TN gun rights advocates are working on the former — again, still. Getting rid of GFZ’s? That’s a cultural issue that will take decades to address. But getting out of denial is an excellent first step. Right Director?