Torpedoed Again!


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Once again, the rights of the people remain stifled. Luckily, some similance of common sense prevailed and they're going to protect our HCP records private.

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Guns-in-bars bill stopped at the door
By Richard Locker (Contact)
Originally published 02:30 p.m., April 2, 2008
Updated 02:30 p.m., April 2, 2008

NASHVILLE – A Tennessee legislative subcommittee holstered until next year the last guns-in-bars bill that was pending in the General Assembly today.

State Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, the House sponsor of the bill allowing gun-carry permit holders to take their firearms into places that serve alcohol, asked the House Criminal Practice and Procedure subcommittee to defer the bill until 2008 and that the issue be examined by a legislative study committee during this summer and fall.

But while gun enthusiasts, backed by the National Rifle Association, lost that battle for another year, they won another in the same committee: the NRA-supported bill to close off public access to the names of Tennessee gun-carry permit holders advanced to the full House Judiciary Committee.

The Senate version of the permit-confidentiality bill is scheduled for a Senate floor vote Thursday.

The guns-in-bars bill had passed the Senate 24-6 on Jan. 16. It was one of several bills to expand Tennessee gun-carry permit law to allow guns to be carried into more places where they are currently restricted. Last month, the same House subcommittee killed a bill to permit faculty and staff at public universities to carry handguns onto campus, another to allow guns in state parks and another that would have let people who had been voluntarily admitted to mental health hospitals to get gun-carry permits.

The NRA issued an action alert to its members last Friday urging them to contact members of the committee in support of the guns-in-bars bill, the permit-confidentiality bill and two others – one to reduce the gun-carry permit fee from $115 to $100 and another to establish rules on how the state is to implement a federal act regarding the carrying of firearms by retired law enforcement officers.

The other bills have not been acted on yet.

Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell told the county’s legislative delegation today at its weekly luncheon meeting that although he’s a longtime NRA member, he opposed the guns-in-bars bill.

“Reasonable people do silly things when they have too much to drink, and silly people with guns are lethal,” he said. “I’m an NRA member and I support the Right to Carry law and the Second Amendment, but I view it somewhat like free speech. You can’t go into a crowded theater and shout ‘Fire!’ and I think there has to be some limits on where you can carry a gun.”

Luttrell also said the number of gun-carry permit applications in Shelby County reached 5,500 during 2007 – double the previous year. The sheriff’s office has to submit a background investigation report on each permit application from the county and he asked lawmakers to divert $15 of each $115 permit fee to sheriffs’ offices to cover the growing costs of the investigations. Currently, the TBI, which also conducts a criminal-background check, and the Department of Safety, which issues the permits, receive most of the permit fee.

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