I believe that it is a fundamental right of every American to own and carry firearms. So I was relieved to hear the decision of District of Colombia vs. Heller, which said that the states can not bar any law abiding citizen from owning a handgun, although they did state that cities/states may “reasonably regulate” the carrying and ownership of fire arms.
My joy was elevated to a new level when I read in the paper that Tennessee is considering 4 bills that would expand the places that legally licensed individuals can carry their guns.
Handgun Permits – As introduced, makes information contained in handgun carry permit applications and renewals, information provided to agencies to investigate applicant, and records maintained relative to the permit application confidential and creates Class A fine only misdemeanor of unauthorized publication of permit information or records. – Amends TCA Section 10-7-504 and Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13.
Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, authorizes person with handgun carry permit to possess firearm in local, state, or federal parks. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 and Title 70.
Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, authorizes person with handgun carry permit to possess firearm in a refuge, public hunting area, wildlife management area, or on national forest land. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 and Title 70.
Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, allows person with handgun carry permit to carry in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages as long as such person is not consuming alcoholic beverages and such restaurant is not an age-restricted venue. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17.
My opinion on each bill is as follows:
I like the fact that they are trying to look out for the privacy of gun owners, I don’t believe that it needs to be public knowledge as to who owns a gun. I would have liked to see them set a minimum fine however, nothing less than $1000.
HB0960 & HB0961
(The committee vote of 960 has been pushed back to Wednesday or so of this week.) I think that the attempt to pass this bill recognizes that not all dangers occur in our homes or neighborhood. If someone is hiking in the woods and they get attacked by a rabid animal, a bear, or one of the marijuana growers that operates in the the back country where very few people go, then the carrier of the gun has the ability to protect him/herself . There is also the fact that a gun fired three times into the air is a universal symbol of distress. How, I ask, is somebody supposed to signal this distress if they are not allowed to carry a gun in these areas?
The first few times I read this bill I didn’t quite get the “and such restaurant is not an age-restricted venue.” clause. However after pondering on it I think I understand it. The way I see it is that they want to allow people with conceal carry permits to go into standard restaurants, like Ruby Tuesdays, Appleby’s or (if you’re in East Tennessee) Copper Celler and Calhouns, normal resteraunts that serve alchohol, as long as the carrier doesn’t drink. Age restricted places in Tennessee are considerd “clubs” in Tennessee and I guess the thought is that if you’re going to a club then you are probably going to be drinking, or mixing with a high number of people who have been drinking, and guns and alchol, or people who’ve been drinking don’t mix with happy results.
I hope that these bills pass, and I hope that people realize that the people who follow the laws and are legally licensed to carry guns are less likely to commit gun crimes than anyone else.