The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the House Constitutional Protections & Sentencing Subcommittee voted to advance HB 2817/SB 2671, a permitless carry bill that would allow people to carry a loaded handgun in public without a permit:
“From Knoxville to Memphis, local officials and law enforcement experts have been crying out in opposition to this bill, but so far it seems to be falling on deaf ears,” said Linda McFadyen-Ketchum, volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’re urging our lawmakers to listen to their constituents and stop this bill.”
In the week since Governor Lee announced support for permitless carry, stakeholders across the state have publicly opposed the 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.
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.