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Tennessee Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond as Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee Advances Permitless Carry Legislation

March 16, 2021

Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers Are Available for Interviews

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements after the Tennessee Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee advanced SB 765, which would strip the state of essential permitting and training standards for carrying concealed guns in public, allowing people to carry a loaded firearm in public without a background check or any safety training. Permitless carry legislation also allows extremists and white supremacists to evade background check requirements and safeguards to responsible gun ownership. The Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association and Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police submitted letters in opposition to permitless carry legislation, which is also opposed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations. 

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why the Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee would decide that it’s a good idea to spend more than $17 million taxpayer dollars every year on a bill that would increase violent crime and gun homicide,” said Yoonie Yang, a volunteer with Chattanooga Students Demand Action and a member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “We’ll keep fighting this deadly, expensive bill wherever it rears its ugly head next.”

“Our lawmakers keep trumpeting their support for law enforcement, but for those who voted for this dangerous permitless carry bill, it’s clear that those are empty words,” said Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Every major law enforcement agency in Tennessee – along with business leaders, medical professionals, faith leaders, and more – opposes this bill, and we’ll stand with them as we fight to make sure the bill never becomes law.”

Organizations that have publicly opposed permitless carry legislation include the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, and more.

Last session, broad coalitions of gun safety instructors, law enforcement officials, business leaders, elected officials, faith leaders, and healthcare executives helped block this deadly legislation. In Knoxville, Mayor Indya Kincannon, Police Chief Eve Thomas, and Councilwoman Seema Singh have opposed the policy. In Memphis, Police Director Michael Rallings, Mayor Jim Strickland, Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich, and the Memphis Crime Commission have urged lawmakers to reject permitless carry. In Nashville, District Attorney Glenn Funk and Mayor John Cooper have spoken out against the bill. The director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations also testified against the bill. 

Ninety-three percent of Tennessee voters support requiring a permit to carry a loaded handgun in public — including 92 percent of Republicans and 91 percent of gun-owning households. Sixty-five percent of recent voters would be less likely to vote for Gov. Lee if he signed legislation that would eliminate the requirement to get a permit in order to carry a loaded handgun in public. More information about permitless carry is available here.

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