The Tennessee House Legislature just voted to reduce the penalty of carrying a handgun without a state permit. As it presently stands, there is a possibility of a 30 day jail sentence but the new bill does away with the possibility of any jail time.
My opinion is that they should get tougher on this law rather than more lax. Do those that voted for this new bill not realize that most of the shootings in Chattanooga and in Tennessee are by people who have no permit to carry a gun? The new law means that wannabe gang members or others with illegal guns at a mall, club, music or sporting event, or just out on the street, get nothing more than a fine without any jail punishment. Most law enforcement oppose this new house bill.
A better bill would be to increase the penalty to be a Class A Misdemeanor which would give law enforcement the opportunity to give up to 11 months and 29 days jail time but also the opportunity for law enforcement to suspend jail time if appropriate. A second offense should be a Class E Felony. This should be done because the laws should be a crime prevention issue and should strengthen not weaken law enforcement.
This bill comes on the heels of the Tennessee Legislature passing the "Hearing Protection Act" last year. That bill gave gun carriers the right to put silencers on their weapons. The reasoning for this was to protect the gun carriers' hearing. What! How about ear plugs? Did not anyone in the legislature consider the citizens in a mall or in a school that would not know that there was an active shooter there with a silencer on their gun.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in gun rights, but these are gun wrong bills. They disregard the safety of the public which the United States Constitution guarantees in its Preamble.
I think we have some very good local legislators and I agree with them on most issues. Our local legislators have great influence in Nashville. It is my hope that they will use that influence to repeal the Hearing Protection Act; stop the no time gun permit bill and that they would propose a bill to give serious time to those that carry guns without a permit. Such a bill will prevent crime, not encourage it.