Subject: Tennesseans do not need a second "concealed only" permit

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May 1, 2019

Call your Senators and House members now to stop SB705 and HB1264 which purport to enact a second permitting system in Tennessee.

Urgent - the House passed this on a divided vote on April 30.  It is still moving through the Senate with a Senate Sponsor who in 2016 voted to kill constitutional carry.  It can still be stopped in the Senate and should be!

SB705 and HB1264 is a bill that is not a pro-Second Amendment bill in Tennessee under current laws in Tennessee.  It is a bad idea and one that can and will get the in the way of enacting constitutional carry (as Kentucky and 16 other states have done).  This bill should be stopped.

Tennessee has had a permitting law since May of 1994.  The current permit is good for 8 years or a lifetime - depending on what you decide to pay.  The fees range from $68 to $300 dollars depending on who you are and whether you get the 8 year or the lifetime permit.  The permit has no concealment requirement.  The permit creates a "defense" to carrying a firearm in public and in certain locations such as public parks, school parking lots, on school grounds (for some people), etc.  It requires an application including fingerprints and photographs.  The permit does require an 8 hour training course that is overseen by the Department of Safety but conducted by third parties.

So, what does the proposed "concealed only" permit offer?  Well, it is an 8 year permit.  There is no lifetime option.  The cost is $65 for an 8 year permit with no discounts.  It requires an application to the department of safety that has yet to be designed, it will require 2 sets of fingerprints, a photograph, a local law enforcement notice, a background check - all much the same as the existing permit already requires - just perhaps $35 less expensive.  It still requires some degree of training although the available training curiously is different, materially different, than what is required for the existing civilian handgun permit.  It is not a defense in the exact same locations as the regular permit - there are some instances where you can rely on the standard permit but could be charged with a crime if you only have the concealed permit. 

In addition, we may find out that one or more other states will either no longer honor the TN handgun permit for reciprocity or they may indicate that they will not honor the "concealed only" permit.  This is what happened when about 8 states changed their reciprocity status with Tennessee when Tennessee started issuing permits to some 18-20 year olds a few years ago.

The question is WHY? Why this? Why create the confusion? Why risk loosing one or more reciprocity states?

Why not just adopt Constitutional Carry as Kentucky and other states have done this year and as approximately 1/3 of all states have already done?

Well, we understand that one of the organizations advocating for this additional permit is reportedly telling people it will be a step toward constitutional carry.  Really?  Some legislators and the same organization that gave high ratings and financial support to legislators (like the Senate sponsor on this concealed only bill) who voted to kill constitutional carry in 2016 when Senator Mark Green presented it in Senate Judiciary are now telling people that this bill is just a step toward passing constitutional carry?  Is that credible?  Or is it just a setup from some legislators who will never vote for constitutional carry (like apparently the Senate sponsor) to claim that they did vote for a "pro 2nd Amendment" bill and use that to confuse voters and get re-elected in 2020? 

The bill is set for Senate Finance Ways and Means today - May 1, 2019.  Call each of those members and demand that they stop this bill and move forward, perhaps now in 2020, with true constitutional carry as 17 other states have done.   We don't need an "interim" step that might well delay constitutional carry for a decade or so to "see how it works".

TFA has been speaking out against this bill this year and will likely negatively score it in the 2019 bill review and 2020 candidate assessments.

Please contact your legislators concerning these bills. It is important that we keep reminding them about the bills which remove infringements on our rights but it perhaps more important that we demand as voters that they put a stop to any proposed legislation the detracts to the smallest degree from our constitutionally protected rights.

Committee compositions, calendars and members are found on the State Website

You can look up your individual legislators on the State’s “Find my Legislator” page.

John Harris
Executive Director

Joining and supporting TFA is an investment in the fight to restore our constitutional rights and to fight against politicians who are willing to sell their votes and your rights to whichever business interest gives them the most money!

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