Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Roy Herron called the passage of Senate Bill 2424, which would eliminate the current requirement for handgun owners to have a permit to carry their weapon, "crazy."
The vote in the Senate on Tuesday was 25-2 in favor of the bill sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers.
It eliminates the requirement that gun owners go through a background check, receive training and obtain a permit before carrying a handgun in public.
The only need for a permit would be for those who plan to conceal their weapons.
The only opponents were Senators Charlotte Burks, D-Monterrey, and Thelma Harper, D-Nashville. Six senators abstained.
Chairman Herron said, “When I was in the Senate, I sponsored and fought to pass the common-sense permitting law that has protected Tennesseans by helping keep guns out of the hands of criminals, drug addicts, the mentally unstable, and those not trained in gun safety. This ‘Wild West Bill’ destroys those public safety protections.
“I own several firearms (including shotguns, rifles, and, yes, handguns). I’ve hunted and shot for sport all my life, and I believe in the Second Amendment. But I also believe in and trust our law enforcement officials. Members of my family have served in law enforcement ranging from county sheriff to the FBI (one family member even has their name engraved on the law enforcement memorial on the Legislative Plaza along with others killed in the line of duty). Tea Partiers may think the Wild West was a good idea, but no Tennessean in law enforcement does.
“This Wild West bill is not conservative, it’s crazy. It would have never passed the Senate if Democrats still had the majority- it never did before when Democrats held the majority. Instead, this bill was brewed up by the Tea Party Republicans in the Senate, 88% of whom voted yes and rammed this radical bill through over the without the votes of most Democrats.
“Instead of expanding Medicaid or giving our teachers the cost-of-living adjustment the Governor promised, Tea Party Republicans are making it easier for criminals, drug addicts, the mentally ill, and people who’ve never been trained in gun safety to pack pistols in their hip holsters.”