guns

House votes to cut fine for carrying gun without a permit from $500 to $250

The state House voted 70-20 Monday evening  to reduce maximum first-offense penalties for carrying a handgun without a state-issued permit from $500 to $250. The Times Free Press reports the vote came despite criticism from Democrats and concerns from the Haslam administration as well as some law enforcement officials and others.

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Haslam appoints school security task force

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has announced a 17-member task force to evaluate ways to improve school safety in Tennessee.

The governor has asked the  group chaired by Safety Commissioner David Purkey  to “move quickly in making practical recommendations” before the end of the current legislative session.

UPDATE: Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (D-Memphis) criticized the governor for setting up “a solid Republican task force on an issue where bipartisan consensus is sorely needed.”

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GOP gubernatorial candidates differ — or dodge — on Trump’s gun law proposals

Excerpt from a story by the AP’s Jonathan Mattise:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In gun-friendly Tennessee, President Donald Trump’s ideas to ban bump stocks and bar people under 21 from buying semi-automatic guns have put the leading GOP candidates for governor in a tough spot. In response, they have mostly avoided taking firm stances.

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Legislators eye TN teachers with guns and/or putting more police in schools

A bill that sets the stage for some teachers to carry guns in Tennessee schools cleared a House subcommittee on Wednesday on a party-line vote while a bipartisan group of lawmakers held a news conference to propose having the state pay off-duty police officers $50 an hour to patrol schools.

The proposal involving teachers with guns may be a strategy to get more professional police in the schools, reports WPLN.

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Haslam backs ban on bump stocks, raising age for gun buys

Gov. Bill Haslam declared his support for banning “bump stock” gun modifications and for raising the legal age for purchase of semi-automatic firearms in a Washington, D.C., speech from 18 to 21, reports WBIR TV. President Trump has supported both notions.

“It’s just crazy to me that you can’t buy a beer at 19, but you can buy an AR-15,” Haslam said during a speech at the breakfast event at the Pew Charitable Trusts Friday.

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Haslam ‘not certain about arming teachers’ while planning statewide school safety review

Gov. Bill Haslam, who last week said his administration plans a statewide review of school security in light of a recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, is quoted in a Sunday Politico story headlined, Governors to Washington: Stop dithering on guns.

The article is based on comments from state chief executives gathered for a weekend meeting in Washington of the National Governors Association meeting in downtown Washington.  An excerpt:

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TN Republican legislators, generally, stop short of embracing Trump’s push on gun legislation

President Donald Trump’s endorsement of raising the minimum age to purchase semi-automatic rifles, banning “bump stocks” and tightening gun background checks have drawn something less than overwhelming and enthusiastic support from leaders of Tennessee’s Republican-controlled legislature, according to media reports.

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Alexander, Corker back bill aimed at strengthening gun background checks

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are co-sponsors of legislation intended to strengthen background checks for gun buyers and a White House spokeswoman says President Trump, while not endorsing a specific proposal, “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

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Legislators display bipartisanship on tax break for gun safes

Press release from Senate Republican Caucus

NASHVILLE – State Senator Kerry Roberts (R-Springfield) and Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris (D-Memphis) today announced bipartisan legislation that would make it cheaper for gun owners to safely store their firearms.  Senate Bill 2476 would exempt the purchase of gun safes from the state’s sales tax.   Continue reading

‘Bump stocks’ ban, stalled in Congress, draws GOP opposition in TN

With legislation to ban “bump stocks” stalled in Congress, the Washington Post reports several state legislatures have had bills filed restricting the devices used in an October Las Vegas shooting that left 58 dead and hundreds injured and some – including California, Massachusetts and New Jersey – have enacted them.

In Tennessee, two Democratic legislators – Sen. Lee Harris of Memphis and Rep. Dwayne Thompson of Cordova – have introduced a ban bill (HB1461). But they haven’t scheduled a committee vote and the Johnson City Press reports Northeast Tennessee Republican legislators and the Tennessee Firearms Association are strongly opposed.

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