The Tennessee Legislature has sent HB0508 to Governor Bill Haslam for action. The bill was very popular in the legislature passing the House 71-14, and the Senate 26 to 6. The bill would require state and local government entities to use more than mere signs to ban firearms from their premises.

The bill removes immunity from state or local government entities if they prohibit lawfully carrying firearms on their property, unless they institute actual measures to prevent all people from carrying firearms on the property. The measures required would be metal detectors and security guards on all public entrances. The law recognizes that signs merely stop law abiding people from carrying, while doing little to prevent armed people with ill intent from entering such facilities.

The bill allows law suits by those affected including triple damages and recovery of attorney fees. Organizations whose members have threatened to sure if the bill becomes law.

An amendment was added to the bill exempting some government premises.

From tn.gov:

AMENDMENT #2 revises this bill as follows:

(1) Prohibits a “local government or a permittee thereof” instead of an entity of “local or state government” from enacting or enforcing a prohibition or restriction on the possession of a “handgun by a handgun carry permit holder” instead of a “firearm” on property owned or administered by the entity;
(2) Adds an “authorized representative with the authority to deny entry to the property” to the persons who may inspect a bag, package, or container as described above in (3) in the bill summary; and
(3) Adds that this bill will not apply to:
(A) Licensed mental health facilities, facilities licensed under the provisions governing juveniles, such as childcare agencies, or licensed healthcare facilities;
(B) Schools and parks where certain school-related events are occurring, if present law prohibits firearms on such property;
(C) Property on which judicial proceedings occur regardless of whether judicial proceedings are in progress;
(D) Buildings that contain a law enforcement agency;
(E) Libraries; or
(F) Facilities that are licensed by the department of human services and administer a Head Start program.

The bill is a step forward in eliminating irrational gun free zones and will likely be signed by Governor Haslam. He has stated that there is no point in opposing a bill that has more than two thirds of the votes of the legislature.

From nashvillepublicradio.org:

“You can veto it, but if something passes two-to-one, you’re probably wasting your breath,” Haslam says. “So you’re better off to try to work on the front end to try to get the bill in as good a shape as it can be.”

The bill is a tradeoff, eliminating some irrational gun free zones, but some new ones will be created. Under current law, gun free zones are only allowed in rooms where court proceedings were actually in session. The new law changes that to buildings that contain rooms where judicial proceeding happen. That’s a major change.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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7 Responses to Tennessee Legislature Takes Action to Reduce Ineffective Gun Free Zones

  1. “The new law changes that to buildings that contain rooms where judicial proceeding happen. That’s a major change.”

    In many Michigan counties, all or most county offices are in the same building as the courts.
    Want to buy a dog license? Prepare to dump your pockets, take off your belt, and get herded like cattle. And the majority of the idiots paying for it think “oh, good, they’re keeping us safe”…

  2. I don’t live in TN, but I have ignored their GFZ signs there also, as I do everywhere. It is ridiculous that you are walking around ‘totally legal’ and then cross some imaginary line that makes you illegal; can’t disarm, what are going to do with it. GFZ’s are a total waste and need to be eliminated. GFZ’s themselves are almost banned where I live, which is great.

  3. How come nobody has done a write up of the Tennessee Hearing Protection Act? It was signed over a week ago by Haslam.

    • Because that TN HPA does absolutely nothing. It simply eliminates laws prohibiting possession of silencers. Tn state law already allows possession IF all portions of the NFA act are in place i.e you have a tax stamp. This law does nothing. You can’t just get a silencer in TN because the state allows it, Federal regulations need to be followed. (sadly)….

  4. The amendment proves how stupid this is. It exempts these “most sensitive” places from the purpose of the bill, which is to eliminate the false feelings of “security” that do nothing to actually protect these most sensitive places. These exempted places should be LAST to be added to a list of exceptions.

  5. This bill will do nothing to prevent another Sandy Hook…or Columbine…or Orlando. NOTHING. They need to do like Utah did and get schools off of the gun-free zone list.

    On top of that, the library provision just astounds me. Libraries are not Gun-Free Zones here in Virginia; we just had a VCDL meeting in a local library. Yes, a bunch of us were legally carrying, either openly or concealed, as we always do at our meetings.

    GFZ’s are, in reality, “TRE’s”, or “Target-Rich Environments”, as several terrorist groups have tragically proved in recent years. Remember the terrorist murderer who shot the military recruiters in Chattanooga, TN! Let’s remember them and their example. GFZ/TRE’s result in more innocent lives lost, not less.

    – T

  6. “The bill allows law suits by those affected including triple damages and recovery of attorney fees.”

    This needs to be the case with every law regulating the government. If the executive branch of a government is the only one that can enforce the law against the government, then the any government that doesn’t want to follow the law won’t.

    Here in Texas, the office of the attorney general is the only one who can sue to enforce a similar law. My county ignores the law. I know I would sue immediately if I could make a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars off of it.

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