Tennessee House Kills Several Pro-Gun Rights Bills

Despite the fact that a record number of Tennesseans are now licensed to carry firearms, not all of the politicians in the Volunteer State are enthusiastic about expanding the legal protections for the civil right to keep and bear arms. Just this week, reports Dave Boucher in The Tennessean, the Tennessee House Civil Justice Subcommittee . . .

* killed a bill that would have eliminated the licensing requirement for open carry of a handgun (concealed carry would have still required a license);
* declined to discuss a bill that would have permitted gun dealers to sell gun to handgun license holders without a background check; and
* declined to discuss a bill that would have allowed licensed firearms owners to carry a handgun on property used, but not owned, by a school.

Subcommittee Chairman Jim Coley, a Republican, was one of the four votes against the constitutional open carry bill. He defended his vote, saying he was worried about the idea of his fellow citizens carrying a firearm in the absence of a legally-mandated training requirement.

“I think one of the problems with the bill is that you don’t have to have a permit, so there’s no training involved. Which is troubling to me…that’s the biggest part: no permit, and therefore no training,” Coley said.

Chairman Jim failed to enlighten us as to why he apparently didn’t bother examining the historical experiences of states that have no training requirements for carrying a concealed handgun – a diverse group that includes Western locales like Arizona and Alaska, New England Yankee strongholds like Vermont, and even states with a lot of urbanization such as Pennsylvania.

Representative Sherry Jones, a Democrat, also spoke out against the bill.

“It just makes me want to stay in the house all the time because I don’t want to go somewhere where somebody takes their gun and decides they’re gonna rob somebody, and then 57 people stand up to shoot the guy who’s come in to rob, and a lot of people get dead,” Jones said.

I don’t now any good psychiatrists specializing in phobias to recommend for Rep. Jones in Nashville, so let’s just move on.

Demonstrating his ability to make comments almost as ignorant as Representative Jones, Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, expressed concern about people carrying a firearm without a background check — although he did not clarify why he believed that a background check was necessary for someone who wasn’t actually suspected of breaking any laws, especially when Tennessee’s own system has been criticized in the past for being “inconsistent” and containing “out of date records.”

There was one light moment in the whole story, though. When Representative Jones rhetorically asked why “everyone would want to carry a gun,” Representative Micah Van Huss — a Republican, and one of the bill’s 24 sponsors in the house — had a reply for her.

“Because they’re American.”


  1. The GOOD news is that the Safe Commute Law update passed. This, if my reading is correct, would give a form of restitution if an employer fires an employee simply for having a firearm in his or her vehicle on the company property.

  2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    He defended his vote, saying he was worried about the idea of his fellow citizens carrying a firearm in the absence of a legally-mandated training requirement.

    Well, I guess it sucks for him that I and the family will be in Gatlinburg next month, where I’ll be carrying concealed on my Indiana LTCH, which has reciprocity with Tennessee, and no training requirements.

      1. avatar Bill says:

        Considering that a State Representative in Tennessee makes $19,009 a year and they get a per diem of $171 per day the legislature is ACTUALLY in session that essentially covers travel expenses and food (most represenatives end up traveling to Nashville and back once a week), my guess is that this probably is significant to him. Not all politicians are rich. Rep Coley is a legislator and a schoolteacher. Not some bigwig businessman.

    1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

      Yeah I wish I could move a mile away to Indiana Chip. Where are the bloodbaths? What is it like $150 for lifetime CC?

      1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        $125, IIRC? No training. Submit app online. Have to get fingerprints and take paper to local PD. Then the card comes in the mail.

    2. avatar higgs says:

      Tennesseans are well armed and fighting for their rights and winning.
      The Democrats are on the run in the state.
      • 26 of 33 state senators are Republican ( and the number keeps going up)
      • 76 of the 99 state house members are republican ( and the number keeps going up)
      • 7 of our 9 US congressmen are Republican ( Democrats represent Nashville and Memphis)
      • Both US senators are Republican (at least mostly)
      Here is the progress that has been made in the past few years –
      • Law enforcement saw an increase in guns stolen from cars outside of restaurants where guns were not allowed due to alcohol. Now we have choice. Restaurants can opt to not allow guns and I can opt to go to the ones that do allow guns. No drinking if armed of course. This law got changed over the governor’s veto and gun thefts dropped – Win
      • Knife laws were changed to allow pretty much any type of knife to be carried for self defense. – Win
      • State carry laws have been changed so that in effect Castle Doctrine extents to your car now. You can carry a firearm in your vehicle even if you do not have a TN carry permit. – Win
      • The State senate keep pushing and passing open carry because that’s what the people of Tennessee want. As pointed out earlier the antis have to stop the bill in subcommittee because if it hits to full house it passes. “Constitutional carry” legislation is still in the works and alive right now. Give it time. I would bet on another win within a few years.

  3. avatar Anon says:

    The Tennessee House Judiciary Sub-committee is misbalanced with “city” favored over rural. All of these would have easily passed in the full House if they did not have to go through the committee system.
    The governor is a “business” governor, not a citizen’s governor. Much more concerned with pleasing the corporations than the people of the state.
    A few good bills are still likely to make it to the governor’s desk, but we don’t get our freedoms restored and rights recognized this year.

  4. avatar Anon in CT says:

    Too funny – she sounds like one of my son’s classmates. He’s in kindergarten.

    “It just makes me want to stay in the house all the time because I don’t want to go somewhere where somebody takes their gun and decides they’re gonna rob somebody, and then 57 people stand up to shoot the guy who’s come in to rob, and a lot of people get dead,” Jones said.

    1. avatar Daily Beatings says:

      It’s probable because the guy robbing the place would have been a registered democrat.

      1. avatar Taylor in Tn. says:

        And let’s not forget, if that person had not gone into the store to rob it, then the 57 people would not have to draw their guns and shoot in the first place. Too much focus is being put on the law abiding persons, and the criminals.

      2. avatar dh34 says:

        Being shot dead and placed in the ground has never kept a good Democrat from casting his/her vote.

        1. avatar JasonM says:

          Or from casting that vote twice!

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Can she remind me again, where is it that ever happened in history? I know cops have often shot bystanders, but haven’t heard much about CCs. And, now I think about it, I don’t remember any discussion, during my several training episodes, on the subject she discusses.

  5. avatar Aven says:

    I live just across the Tennessee line in Virginia. We don’t have to have any gun training for our concealed carry license and we open carry without any license (because they never made a law against it.)

  6. avatar Tom W. says:

    Face facts. An armed citizenry scares the straights and/or modern politicians. They have NO concept of the 2nd Amendment, and NO sense of the Federalist Papers explaining why. This issue/debate to clarify, extend, grant, permit, an already Constitutional Amendment bunches their boxers and scares them. In one case that’s good, in the other its destructive. Collectively, these clowns are elected. And only a fraction of voters actually vote.
    Simply remember those fighting the good fight, are also dealing with low information masses that could careless. Damn sad.

    1. avatar Ethnic Russian says:

      Modern politicians just want to build police state, where authority is property, inherited by community of relatives.

      Its actually not very modern, its the essence of professional politics.

  7. avatar Ralph says:

    From the TN Department of Safety website:

    “Tennessee now recognizes a facially valid handgun permit, firearms permit, weapons permit, or a license issued by another state according to its terms, and will, therefore, authorize the holder of such out-of-state permit or license to carry a handgun only in the state of Tennessee.”

    So TN recognizes permits from every other state, whether or not training was required. So I’m calling bullsh1t on Jim Coley.

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:

      Jim admitted to suffering from hoplophobia and he should be put on the NICS list as a prohibited person.

  8. avatar foo dog says:

    Tenn citizens should be looking at canpaign funding disclosures, and use FOIA requests for other documentaion of influence, when anyone with an R behind their name sez stupid $hit like this. Check the closet for pointy hooded white robes, too for sad to say there are some nasty high crime areas, in Memphis, that are mostly black, and you have a lotta rich folk like Bloomberg who say one thing to their friends in gated communities, while denying the poorer, but law abiding of ALL colors, who live in those neighborhoods their right to self defense.

    The cops cant be everywhere, and when seconds count, they are only minutes away, at best.

  9. avatar Kyle says:

    WTF, in Tennessee!? This is supposed to be a super pro-gun rights state.

  10. avatar Stephen says:

    If Mrs Jones fear of a bank robber confronted by 57 armed people ready to shoot is reasonable, i would think there would never be another hold up in TN.

  11. avatar Bob H says:

    We in Tennessee have a bit of a problem identifying a Conservative from a Republican… With the exception of Memphis, we are a very safe place with a whole lot of guns. Its funny how the two things never go hand and hand with politicians.

  12. avatar Enuz says:

    “then 57 people stand up to shoot the guy who’s come in to rob”
    God as my witness, if this was the case, gang-unrelated crime would vanish overnight.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Ain’t that the truth, she says it filled with terror, while to me it sounds like a wet dream come true.

  13. avatar James in MO says:

    Makes me bummed to hear Gov. Haslam say stuff like that. I was acquainted with him before he was Mayor of Knoxville. Not that it matters now.

    A few years ago he pushed back on state preemption of local gun laws (i.e. which city lets you carry in a public park), which is a royal pain for carrying every day (Is this park in Brentwood or Franklin? Knoxville or unincorporated Knox county?).

  14. avatar slow says:

    Rep. Jim Coley is from Memphis and is a RINO.

    Gov. Haslam, with a net worth of 2 billion dollars, is currently the wealthiest elected politician in the US.

    1. avatar Bill says:

      What about him suggests he is Republican In Name Only?

  15. avatar Fuque says:

    This guy will probably be standing in the unemployment line after the next elections.

  16. avatar Michael Wright says:

    No further mention of the background check bypass not even being discussed? I was more hopeful of that than the Constitutional Carry which seemed like an extreme long shot anyway.

  17. avatar dan says:

    It really sucks that Americans elected to office…do NOT know the history of the State they reside in or the history of this country ,pertaining to the CITIZENS owning, using and carrying firearms…..

  18. avatar Raul says:

    Two thoughts:

    1. “then 57 people stand up to shoot the guy who’s come in to rob”

    This would only happen once. Reminds me of an old Chuck Norris movies. 🙂

    2. There’s an easy solution to his fear of a lack of training. It should be included in the school curriculum.

  19. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I don’t want to go somewhere where somebody takes their gun and decides they’re gonna rob somebody, and then 57 people stand up to shoot the guy who’s come in to rob, and a lot of people get dead,” Jones said. Sounds like the NYPD with 12 pound triggers.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email