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A few animals who exercise their Second Amendment rights are about to be more equal than others in Tennessee. A new state law that creates a special exemption for county commissioners so that they may legally exercise their Second Amendment rights in public buildings containing courthouses is about to go into effect.


Anderson County Commissioner Steven Mead is one commissioner saying he looks forward to July 1.

“I won’t have to leave my gun out where it can be stolen in my car,” he said.

That’s nice for him. The story doesn’t mention what he expects everyday citizens will do to secure their firearms when they’re forced to disarm before entering these buildings.

In fact, Mead helped write the new legislation. He began lobbying the legislature after an existing law was changed. It resulted in a ban on any guns in buildings with active courthouses.

The bill was written in response to an earlier law that went into effect on July 1, 2017. That law eliminated many gun-free zones in the Volunteer State, but made buildings containing courthouses off limits to carriers. The previous law only banned guns in courtrooms that were in use.

Passage of the latest law was a compromise for Second Amendment supporters. More gun-free zones were eliminated than were created. There was no exception in the new law for lawmakers or other public employees, except for law enforcement officers.

Many buildings that contain courtrooms also contain numerous other facilities frequently needed by the public such as county clerk offices, county assessor offices, motor vehicle licensing bureaus, and more

Commissioner Mead’s concerns about guns in cars being stolen apply equally to all legal gun carriers that have business to be carried out in a public building that happens to have a courtroom in it.

The new bill only grants the exercise of Second Amendment rights to County Commissioners, but not city officials. Mayors are out of luck, too.

From HB 1939

As enacted, allows county commissioner in the actual discharge of the commissioner’s duties who has a valid handgun carry permit to carry in buildings in which county commission meetings are held, but not in room in which judicial proceeding in progress; not applicable to member of legislative body of metropolitan government. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.

This is another case of special privilege for certain government officials. Second Amendment supporters in Tennessee will likely use it as a springboard to reform Pub. Ch. 467’s ban on carrying in buildings containing a courtroom. The obvious reform would change that part of state law back to make only courtrooms in actual use gun-free zones, not entire county administrative buildings.

The arguments used by county commissioners apply equally to all who can legally carry concealed weapons. Or should.


©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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    • I have asked this very same question several times and no one ever responds.

      I would think that someone could also challenge that law under the section of the U.S. Constitution which states that titles of nobility are forbidden. (While the title “County Commissioner” does not sound like a title of nobility, it is in fact a title of nobility when that title elevates a title holder above the law for everyone else.)

      • You guys can’t see the inherent ‘legitimate government purpose’ in ‘freedom for me and not for thee’?

        I bet the judges can see it. They see everything, including the fact that the government’s interest in violating rights overrides the rights themselves.

    • This is the standard ‘Little People Don’t Matter’ legislation that goes on across the nation.

      You are little people. You don’t matter. Just lay down and die like a nice voiceless constituent, bite the pillow, ladies, it will be over soon.

  1. For the people of Tennessee.
    This is complete BS.
    They are no more special then any other citizen of your state.
    In fact they are considerably LESS so.
    The are after all politicians.

  2. “…such as county clerk offices, county assessor offices, motor vehicle licensing bureaus, and more…”

    Well, that would be one way to inspire more polite ‘service’ from the ‘Civil Serpents’ at the DMV…

  3. Personally I don’t think anyone in a court house but a “Badge” and the judge should be armed. And a firearm at the DMV just wouldn’t do, I’ve often wanted a MOAB there. I was quite put off at the first visit to the Social Security office, I couldn’t fathom the scrutiny going in, checked for firearms, little pocket knife not allowed. Then 4 hours later I was wishing for a MOAB…. Christ you’ve got my SS card, birth certificate, job history, bank statement, tax returns, what’s the problem? Gimme “My” money already.

    • But you see it’s not your money. They spent your money a long time ago. You’re trying to get the money of the people who are paying in now. Gov’t sponsored generational theft is fantastic!

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