Gun Legislation Heads to Senate Floor, House Subcommittee

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 142 (Ramsey R-Blountville) relative to handgun carry permits. The bill would allow handgun carry permit holders to transport and store firearms in their vehicles provided such firearms and ammunition are stored out of sight and not otherwise in a location prohibited by federal law. The legislation is a major concern for private business, law enforcement, municipalities, educational institutions (both K-12 and college campuses), courthouses, and hospitals that wish to retain the right to determine such policies for their own property and facilities.  The legislation, as written, would prevent the University from establishing and enforcing student and employee policies aimed at minimizing the presence of firearms on campus and in the workplace.

Despite the concerns voiced by higher education, law enforcement, and the business community, SB 142 passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 8-0 vote with one member abstaining.  Even a list of legal questions submitted by the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce failed to defer swift action on the legislation.

The members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and their respective votes on SB 142 are listed below:

Senate Judiciary Committee

Vote on SB 142

Brian Kelsey, Chair
(R-Germantown)

Aye

Doug Overbey, 1st Vice-Chair
(R-Maryville)

Aye

Stacey Campfield, 2nd Vice-Chair
(R-Knoxville)

Aye

Mike Bell (R-Riceville)

Aye

Lowe Finney (D-Jackson)

Aye

Ophelia Ford (D-Memphis)

Present not voting

Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga)

Aye

Mark Green (R-Clarksville)

Aye

John Stevens (R-Huntingdon)

Aye

The bill has been calendared for the full Senate this coming Monday, February 11 at 5:00 PM CST.  It will likely pass with no substantial amendments.

Unlike the Senate, there seem to be reservations in the House regarding a blanket gun policy for schools and colleges. The only real chance for an amendment will come as the house considers the legislation. The bill’s first hearing in the House is scheduled for the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 13 at 3:00 PM.
Advocates can tune in live here.

More details will be posted as they develop.