Tennessee Enacts Pro-Gun Laws

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posted on May 7, 2015
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A number of pro-firearms measures were signed into law last week, including the creation of a lifetime handgun carry permit.

House Bill 745 and Senate Bill 700, sponsored by Rep. John Holsclaw (R-4) and Sen. Frank Niceley (R-8), received strong bi-partisan support, passing the House 90-3 and the Senate by a margin of 30-2 on April 15, before heading to the governor.

The measure creates an option for any law-abiding state residents age 21 and older to obtain a lifetime handgun carry permit for a one-time application and processing fee of $500. In its original form the measure called for a $750 fee, but this was reduced in committee debate.

Under current Tennessee law, handgun carry permittees pay $115 for the initial five years and $50 for renewals every five years thereafter. A fiscal analysis of the bill presented during hearings predicted approximately 5 percent of the state’s current half-million permit holders will take advantage of the new option.

“There are over 500k Carry Permit Holders in Tennessee or roughly 1:12 citizens,” Sen. Nicely posted on his social media page. “There are only 1:2,000 law enforcement officers. Law abiding citizens who have passed background checks and have firearms use training are security enhancements, not threats.”

The measure becomes effective July 1.

Also signed into law were:

- HB 995, which allows handgun permit holders to carry in parks and other public recreation areas, overriding city and county bans or ordinances.

- SB 633, which prohibits schools from requiring students or parents to provide information on firearm ownership, prohibits local education agencies from requiring employees to provide information on firearm ownership, and prohibits disciplinary or employment action based on information of firearm ownership voluntarily provided.

- HB 1255, requiring the chief law enforcement officer of a jurisdiction to certify the transfer or making of a firearm, as required by the National Firearms Act, within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm by law.

The latter three bills all became effective upon signing by the governor.

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