TN house panel votes to let us carry in govt buildings!


April 20, 2007, 10:33 AM

House vote permits guns in more places

April 19, 2007

NASHVILLE - In a surprise move, a House panel voted Wednesday to repeal a state law that forbids the carrying of handguns on property and buildings owned by state, county and city governments - including parks and playgrounds.

"I think the recent Virginia disaster - or catastrophe or nightmare or whatever you want to call it - has woken up a lot of people to the need for having guns available to law-abiding citizens," said Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains. "I hope that is what this vote reflects."

As amended, the legislation still wouldn't allow guns on school property, however.

Niceley's bill aimed to let people holding handgun carry permits take their weapons onto state park property, which is now forbidden.

But when Niceley brought the bill before the Criminal Practice Subcommittee, a branch of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Rob Briley, D-Nashville, promptly proposed an amendment to expand its scope.

"We've been piecemealing this thing year after year," Briley said. "Why don't we just let you take your gun anywhere you want to?"

Tennessee's handgun carry law includes a listing of places where permit holders are forbidden to take their weapons. Briley has proposed an amendment that repeals a provision prohibiting guns "in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government, or instrumentality thereof."

With very little debate, the amendment was quickly approved on a voice vote with only Rep. Janis Sontany, D-Nashville, chairman of the subcommittee, audibly shouting, "No!"

She then asked Niceley if he had any comments before the bill, as amended, faced a final vote in the panel.

"I'm in shock, and I can't talk," replied Niceley, though quickly adding he thought Briley's proposal was "a good amendment."

The panel then approved the overall bill, sending it to the full House Judiciary Committee for a vote next week. Briley is chairman of the committee.

Niceley said afterward that Tennessee should join other states that basically allow licensed people to take their handguns "anywhere they want."

The Briley amendment does not go that far, having no impact on separate provisions of the law that, for example, forbid guns on school grounds, in courtrooms or in establishments that serve alcoholic beverages.

But Briley, Sontany and others said afterward that it would allow permit holders to take their guns on most other state, county or city government property - including the Legislative Plaza, where signs are now posted to prohibit weapons except those carried by law enforcement officers.

Briley said in an interview that he and a handful of other legislators in subcommittees have borne the brunt of harsh criticism from some gun owners for opposing past efforts to "nibble away" at restrictions on where handguns can be taken.

"This has been on the backs of just a few people," he said. "Now it's time for other people to stand up and say, 'We want these protections in the law' - or not."

Asked about Niceley's comment that the Virginia Tech slayings earlier this week had awakened people to the need for easing of restrictions on licensed holders of handgun carry permits, he replied in the negative.

"Anybody who would make an attempt to score cheap political points over that tragedy and what we did in (the committee room) is disgusting and sick," he said.

Sontany said she thought Briley acted unwisely "in the heat of the moment" and that the bill ultimately would be defeated.

Niceley said that critics of the handgun carry law protested when it passed that "wild West" situations would be created, but permit holders have proven themselves responsible over the years. He said he knows of only one case where a permit holder used a weapon in a violent crime.

In Tennessee, 172,828 people held legal permits as of January, according to Mike Browning, spokesman for the state Department of Safety, which issues the licenses.

Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said he had decided earlier to give up this year on his push for legislation to allow permit holders to take their handguns into restaurants serving alcoholic beverages, feeling it had little chance of passage.

Todd said, however, that he has been approached by another legislator about a push to allow handguns on college campuses though "I don't know if this is the proper time to do that" in light of the Virginia Tech shootings.

Tom Humphrey may be reached at 615-242-7782.

call your congresspeoples and tell them to support this!

btw, i have it on good authority that Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, who behind this bill, is a really great guy. we should call/email and thank him.

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April 20, 2007, 12:15 PM
Where does this stand?

April 20, 2007, 01:04 PM
There is a thread on this in GD It certainly should be here also.

It looks like it will be coming up for a vote on 4/25. The House bill is number HB2184 and the Senate bill is SB 2143. This has a good chance to pass but it needs support. E mail your reps and follow up with a phone call.

There will be no better time to get these bills passed than now.

April 20, 2007, 01:41 PM
mods, could you move this thread to the activism forum? i didn't realize there was an activism forum when i posted.

April 20, 2007, 02:18 PM
Yes, calling and supporting is good, however it needs one modification.
(Shameless copying from TFA alerts.)

TFA Supports but it NEEDS Amendments to INCLUDE: Lands leased by TWRA or other state agencies for public use or access; lands owned by the federal government (unless possession is prohibited by the federal government); lands owned or leased by any other state entity (city, town, or even county)

When you write your letter, find a way to word that in there. This is one of the better written bills, its scope simply is not very wide. (I have heard of amendments being made to it, but I do not know exactly what they were.)

Also, be wary. This may be a stealth attempt at killing park carry. The Senate has already passed SB0053/HB0132 which is essentially the same thing (slightly different wordings). SB2143/HB2184 has not yet passed the Senate. Make sure you write a letter to your Senators urging them to move on this one if necessary, so that we don't have different bills passing/failing.

April 20, 2007, 02:22 PM
Good News

April 20, 2007, 04:15 PM

I very much like your idea on adding the amendments and I've already approached my Senator regarding some of them.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about a stealth attempt at killing park carry. How can a bill that provides for carrying in a park be an attempt at killing park carry? Not arguing mind you, just asking.

April 20, 2007, 04:36 PM
Yes, like Nails said, 'splain what that meant.

April 20, 2007, 05:14 PM
Ok, the Republican Senate has passed a different bill.

Now, the House puts forward a Democrat bill. (Do note, I am not talking about a companion bill, I am talking about a totally different bill.)

House passed one unrelated version, and the Senate does not act before the session ends, park carry dies. It can also happen the other way. The Senate has already passed a version of park carry, and now the House can say they are pushing park carry. The fact that it is not the right bill would be lost on some. You see, the Senate companion bill for HB2184 hasn't moved in a while. It may very well have been shoved under since they already passed one park carry. The good news on that side however is that the Senate would probably revive it if needed.

Again I note, this is a worry of mine that I caution others to watch, not necessarily something about to happen. I would be happy if either one passes, assuming the one mentioned here gets amended.

April 20, 2007, 07:05 PM
Wow Somekid you might actually trust these guys less than I do.

I think we'll be fine. SB 0053 passed 30 to 0. It actually is different than SB2143/HB2184 in that it deals only with TWRA properties. This new bill addresses State owned parks. The obvious amendment to be made would be to have it apply to all parks within the State whether they belong to a county, city or town.

I am trying to convince both my Senator and Rep. to add such an amendment. Time will tell, but either way, come Wed. of next week I believe we will be much better off than we are now.

April 20, 2007, 07:19 PM

There is no might. With no exceptions, I do hold less trust for the Democratic leaders in the state House than quite possibly anyone in the state. The lengths they went to to kill restaurant carry last session were monumental. They are un-trust-able.

As an aside, SB0053 is broader (applies to more types of parks etc), but SB2184 has a really nice pre-emption clause to ensure nobody posts any parks in this state. Granted, they have been amended, and I haven't seen the amended forms, so it is possible what I just said is outdated. The TN Legislature website does not have the new versions up yet.

As an aside, what part of the state are you in Nails?

April 22, 2007, 10:11 PM
Alright, taking Correia's advice today I have collected over 30 signed letters from other people in my county by doing just what he said. I simply printed out copies of the sample form letter and took them to get people to sign them, and add their address and phone. All they had to do was add that info and I am mailing them for them. $15 for stamps and envelopes is a pretty cheap way to have this kind response to send to our reps.

I am going to set a personal goal of 50 letters this week, is anyone else engaged in a campaign to help push this bill through the legislature? If not, why not?

April 23, 2007, 11:58 AM
Bravo Kentucky. Good work.

To those of you pushing your reps, that is awesome. Keep it up.

Let's not get bogged down.

April 23, 2007, 03:48 PM

A truly commendable effort!

April 24, 2007, 10:01 AM
Here's the NRA/ILA page link on this legislation. It has valuable links to the legilators and TWRA to make it easier to contact them.

Important Second Amendment Legislation Moving Forward
in the Volunteer State!
Please Contact Your State Representative Today!

Two important Right-to-Carry reform bills will be heard before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, April 25.

House Bill 132, sponsored by Representative Mike Bell (R-23), would allow a person with a handgun carry permit to possess a firearm in all public hunting areas, refuges, wildlife management areas, and national forests managed by the s tate; and

House Bill 2184, sponsored by Representative Frank Niceley (R-17), would allow any resident, who has a valid handgun carry permit, to possess his or her handgun while within the boundaries of any state park.&n bsp;

Please call the House Judiciary Committee today at (615) 741-1351 or 1-800-449-8366 and urge them to support and vote “YES” to HB 132 and HB 2184.

House Judiciary Committee Members:

Representative Rob Briley (D-52), Chair: (615) 741-2184;

Representative Kent Colman (D-49), Vice-Chair: (615) 741-6829;

Representative Janis Sontany (D-53), (615) 741-6861;

Representative Eddie Bass (D-65), (615) 741-1864;

Representative Frank Buck (D-40), (615) 741-3817;

Representative Tom DuBois (R-64), (615) 741-7444;

Representative Henry Fincher (D-42), (615) 741-1875;

Representative Jon Lundberg (R-1), (615) 741-7623;

Representative Judd Matheny (R-47), (615) 741-7448;

Representative Eric Watson (R-22), (615) 741-7799;

Also, House Bill 1285, the “Emergency Powers” legislation could be heard before the full House any day.

HB 1285, sponsored by Representative Dolores Gresham (R-94), would protect our Second Amendment rights during a state of emergency by prohibiting any government agency from regulating the lawful sale, possession, transfer, transport and carry of firearms.

Please call your State Representative at 1-800-449-8366 and urge him or her to support and vote “YES” to HB 1285.

If you need help identifying your State Representative, please click here.

To find further contact information or help identifying your legislators
please use the "Write Your Representative" feature found at

Write Your Representative

Write The Media

Get Involved Locally

Register To Vote


April 25, 2007, 12:00 AM
Anyone that wants to make a last minute push via email can use this letter if you'd like.

Representative XYZ,

As an independent voter, I'm writing to ask you to support House Bill 132, House Bill 1285 and House Bill 2184.

Individuals who have undergone the state mandated training and background checks required for a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit are model citizens who by the very act of following the state requirements have proven themselves worthy of all our trust.

Furthermore, HB 1285 would prevent the occurrence in Tennessee of the amazing betrayal experienced by the citizens of New Orleans by their government during Hurricane Katrina when they were forcibly denied the means of protecting their property and their safety in a time of chaos.

Please do not betray the trust of the people of Tennessee by failing to wholeheartedly support HB 132 and HB 2184 and HB 1285.

Thank you.

April 26, 2007, 01:35 PM
I wasn't under the impression that this bill allowed concealed carry inside a courtroom. I'm far more concerned about city parks and the DMV than I am a courtroom.

April 26, 2007, 01:49 PM
The bill, as written, provides for carry in State parks, no more no less. The Briley amendment to the bill "deletes the section of the code that makes it an offense to carry weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds. TCA Secs. 39-17-1300; 39-17-1311; 39-17-1359; 70-00-0000."

Now is most definately the time to contact the members of the Judiciary Committee.

April 26, 2007, 02:23 PM
I trust anyone who has been "permitted", whether they are LEO or private citizen.

I don't trust those who think they know who should be "allowed" to have a weapon.

This bill is a step towards what should be - weapons carry by State citizens anywhere in the State.

The only people who deserve no trust are our State and Federal politicians.

April 26, 2007, 03:21 PM
And how many law abiding citizens committed no crimes while carrying a fire arm today in TN?

I've been a cop in both GA and now TN for many years and I have no idea how many people I've encountered who were lawfully carrying and I cannot remember ever having to arrest one while carrying.

April 30, 2007, 07:47 PM
here's a response i got from one of Hso's letters:

I gladly support these bills without hesitation.

Rep. Judd Matheny

make sure you vote for him if he's in your district (47, Manchester)

May 1, 2007, 06:22 AM
I heard on the radio this morning that this one has passed and is just waiting on the Governor to sign (or veto).

Firearms and Ammunition - Removes authorization to restrict firearm and ammunition sales during state's emergency and disaster situations. - Amends TCA Section 58-2-107.

Summary for HB1285 /*SB1597

edit: found related story. I sure don't like the quote from the governor.

May 1, 2007

NASHVILLE (AP) -- A bill that would prevent a Tennessee governor from seizing privately owned firearms or ammunition during a state of emergency is a step closer to becoming law.

The measure sponsored by state Rep. Dolores Gresham of Somerville is headed to the governor for his consideration after unanimously passing the House.

The companion bill was unanimously approved in the Senate in April.

That version passed after its sponsor, Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris of Collierville, and Gov. Bredesen reached an agreement on its language.

Bredesen said he doesn't disagree with the premise of the bill, but noted that he wants to guard against an erosion of executive power when a governor needs it most.

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