Red Flag Legislation to be Heard next week – Legislative Report

Image result for red flagThe events of this week continue to demonstrate that the Tennessee Legislature, for the 9th year in a row, is not proceeding on a path to protect your rights as guaranteed and protected by the 2nd Amendment or the Tennessee Constitution.

SPECIAL NOTICE – the proposed “RED FLAG” law (Senate Bill 1178 and House Bill 1446) by Republican Senator Steve Dickerson is on notice for Senate JUDICIARY on March 26. This bill is a “MUST DEFEAT” bill. Call, fax and email the sponsor, the committee members as well as your individual House and Senate members to DEFEAT this bill. There bill is a dangerous attack on your rights under the 2nd Amendment and has serious due process problems. It is nothing other than a gun control measure masquerading as a “reasonable public safety measure”. TFA shared a blog post that discusses this kind of law in detail. Many horror stories from across the nation can be found by Googling the topic.

The Bill Status Report for March 22 (link below) shows the many bills that had activity this week. Almost none of them are strong 2nd Amendment bills.

Senate Bill 446 andHB187, referred to as the Second Amendment Civil Rights Act of 2019, were supported by the TFA as initially filed. Again, the legislature has amended the bill to the point of substantially weakening it. It is still a somewhat good bill but it falls short of what is needed and what was in the bill last year or as initially filed this year. It should be on the House Floor on Monday March 25.

Senate Bill 706 and House Bill 1264 propose to create a second “concealed only” permit. This bill seems to be the brainchild of a certain national gun rights group that testified in support of it but it is opposed by TFA. As heavily amended already, the Senate version now also imposes a fee of $65 for this second, concealed only, permit – a savings to the applicant of $35 over the 8 year life of the permit. See the full discussion of this bill and why it should be either a) DEFEATED and b) amended to adopt full constitutional carry in TFA’s blog post this week.

Senate Bill 1010 and House Bill 1427 are intended to DESTROY the casual sale exemption which has existed in federal law since 1968 and to adopt UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS on all gun transfers betweem individuals (including loans or gifts). This bill is set for hearing in the House Constitutional Protections Subcommittee on March 27 and calls should be made to DEFEAT it.

Senate Bill 1011 House Bill 1428 again tries to create criminal consequences on transfers of a firearm (gifts to minor children for example) if the person is not old enough to purchase the firearm. Existing state and federal law already adequately address these issues. This bill is set for hearing in the House Constitutional Protections Subcommittee on March 27 and calls should be made to DEFEAT it.

Senate Bill 1025 and House Bill 1224 seek to increase the burdens not only on individual gun owners but third parties by requiring that a third party taking possession (perhaps a sale) from an individual who is required to get rid of their firearms because of a domestic violence conviction. Existing law is already adequate to require that a person convicted of domestic violence get rid of the guns within 48 hours. What this does is it makes it harder to do so by requiring that a third party sign a sworn affidavit that they have taken possession or ownership and accepts responsibility. This bill is set for hearing in the House Constitutional Protections Subcommittee on March 27 and calls should be made to DEFEAT it.

Senate Bill 1275 and House Bill 409 (Senator Pody and Rep. Griffey) is intended to strengthen civil immunity in self-defense matters. It is a good bill and should be SUPPORTED. This bill is set for hearing in the House Constitutional Protections Subcommittee on March 27 and calls should be made to SUPPORT it.

Senate Bill 1301 and House Bill 1176 is a bill that again attempts to create a special class of citizen that has special privileges when it comes to firearms. TFA generally has not taken a position on whether it is from a policy perspective good or bad to authorize by law certain people as part of their jobs to carry firearms.  Frankly, in most instances these individuals are government employees and in many instances it is reasonable or necessary, particularly with those working on duty with law enforcement authority, to be armed. However, TFA generally does oppose legislation which has the effect of treating some classes of citizens differently relative to the carry of firearms when not doing so as a direct function of their on-duty obligations.   Even worse, there are laws which seek to grant special privileges to some citizens based on jobs that they previously held or from which they have retired. This is one of those proposed bills. The bill is set for Senate Judiciary on March 26 and House Public Service and Employee Subcommittee on March 27. Please call both sponsors and committee members and urge them not to create special classes of citizens when the issue is self-defense and defense of our families.

Senate Bill 1312 and House Bill 1476 seeks to impose criminal sanctions on things that happen commonly – leaving a firearm in a car, truck or boat without having it locked securely in a separate cabinet. The bill would create a Class A misdemeanor (up to 11 months 29 days in jail plus fines and court costs) All of the fines would be collected and used for the “domestic violence community education fund” and the “criminal injuries compensation fund”. This bill is set for hearing in the House Constitutional Protections Subcommittee on March 27 and calls should be made to DEFEAT it.

Senate Bill 1401 and House Bill 545. This was a “headfake” bill which was introduced with one purpose and then, on the day it was to be heard in Senate Judiciary, was deleted entirely and a new bill that had absolutely no public notice was substituted. Fortunately, the substituted bill is probably good language but the process of putting bills on calendar for debate when you know that the actual matter to be discussed, debated and voted upon has absolutely no public notice or warning is a dangerous habit of the Legislature that complete ignores transparency and the benefit of giving reasonable notice to the public so that they can participate in the legislative process. This bill is on notice for House Judiciary on March 26 – maybe it will get amended to do something entirely different again!

Please contact your legislators concerning these bills. It is important that we keep reminding them about the bills which remove infringements on our rights but it perhaps more important that we demand as voters that they put a stop to any proposed legislation the detracts to the smallest degree from our constitutionally protected rights

The bill status report and the bill calendar can be accessed through the TFA’s website at this page

It is important that you review these reports and contact committee members and your individual legislators with your opinions, particularly your support or opposition.

Committee compositions, calendars and members are found on the State Website

You can look up your individual legislators on the State’s “Find my Legislator” page.

John Harris

Executive Director

Joining and supporting TFA is an investment in the fight to restore our constitutional rights and to fight against politicians who are willing to sell their votes and your rights to whichever business interest gives them the most money!

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