The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after Governor Bill Lee held a press conference to introduce a permitless carry bill that would allow people to carry a loaded handgun in public without a permit.
“It’s common sense that if you’re going to carry a concealed gun in public, you should pass a background check and make sure you know how to handle it,,” said Leeann Hewlett, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Governor Lee should listen to gun safety instructors, who know far more than most about being responsible gun owners. They have said loud and clear that cutting our permitting system is the wrong choice for Tennessee.”
“Governor Lee’s announcement today proves that he’s wildly out of touch with the vast majority of Tennesseans,” said Seo Yoon Yang, a volunteer with Chattanooga Students Demand Action and member of the Students Demand Action National Advisory Board. “Tennessee’s permitting system helps keep Tennessee families safe — but the governor would rather pander to gun extremists and dismantle a cornerstone of responsible gun ownership in Tennessee.”
Gun safety instructors joined Moms Demand Action volunteers at the capitol today to oppose the bill’s introduction. Last year, volunteers with Moms Demand Action stood with a coalition of gun safety instructors in opposition to a bill that weakened the permitting system’s training requirement.
Ninety-three percent of recent 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 than 1,000 Tennesseans are shot and killed every year. Between 2009 and 2018, the state’s rate of gun deaths increased by 18 percent.