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Tennessee Moms Demand Action, Everytown Criticize Senate Committee for Advancing Bill That Would Gut the Handgun Permitting System’s Training Requirement

March 19, 2019

HB 1264/SB 705 Would Allow People With no Live-Fire Training to Carry a Concealed Handgun in Public

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today criticized the Senate Judiciary Committee for voting to advance HB 1264/SB 705, a bill that would weaken Tennessee’s handgun carry permitting system.

“In order to keep our families safe, people who want to carry concealed handguns in public need the proper training,” said Kat McRitchie, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “This bill is the gun lobby’s attempt to weaken the public safety laws that help protect our communities from violence, even though the majority of Tennesseans want to keep our current permitting system in place.”

The current permitting system requires live-fire training, where an individual must practice firing a gun before being granted a permit to carry a handgun in public. This bill creates a new permit that strips that and other training standards, replacing it with training requirements that could be satisfied with as little as a 90-minute online course. This would allow a person to carry a concealed handgun in public even if he or she has never fired a gun before.

Training requirements are an essential part of an effective permitting system. That is why law enforcement experts, firearms trainers and military personnel agree that citizens carrying concealed weapons in public should undertake firearm training including live fire. In fact, 26 states require live-fire training before obtaining a permit, including Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.

Ninety-three percent of Tennessee voters — including 88 percent of gun owners and 89 percent of current permit holders — support the state’s current permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public. The few states that have eliminated their permitting requirement altogether have seen a substantial increase in firearm violence.

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