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

Gun Safety Instructors from Across the State Have Publicly Opposed This Bill

Moms Demand Action Volunteers Advocated for Gun Safety Throughout the Legislative Session

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

“Today, our senators turned a blind eye to the safety of their constituents,” said Kat McRitchie, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “It is unconscionable that lawmakers passed this bill after our state’s experts in gun safety training said loud and clear that it would put our communities at risk. I urge Governor Lee to reject this bill.”

Moms Demand Action volunteers worked tirelessly to promote gun safety this session and helped defeat risky proposals to arm more teachers and expand Stand Your Ground laws in the state.

On Tuesday, the Tennessean came out against the bill, citing opposition from NRA-certified gun safety instructors as well as gun safety advocates. Last week, gun safety instructors publicly opposed the bill in a press conference at the Capitol. On Monday, Moms Demand Action volunteers delivered a letter signed by 35 gun safety instructors from across the state opposing the bill to lawmakers.

Gun safety instructors and Moms Demand Action volunteers aren’t alone in their opposition to this bill. In fact, 79 percent of recent voters oppose weakening the safety training currently required under Tennessee law, including 75 percent of Republicans.

Twenty-six states require live-fire training before obtaining a permit, including Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. This bill creates a new permit that strips the existing live-fire training requirement, 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 handgun in public even if he or she has never fired a gun before.

A recent investigation from Wired magazine revealed the deep flaws of Concealed Online, a for-profit company that offers one such online course that would satisfy the new training requirement. Reporter Issie Lapowsky “passed without watching the training video and with no firearms experience to speak of.”