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Tennessee Moms Demand Action, Everytown Criticize Governor Lee for Signing Bill That Would Gut the Handgun Permitting System’s Training Requirement

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

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today criticized Governor Lee for signing HB 1264/SB 705 into law. The new law weakens Tennessee’s handgun carry permitting system and faced bipartisan opposition in both the House and Senate.

“People across our state — from gun safety instructors to gun safety advocates — came together this legislative session to oppose this reckless bill,” said Kat McRitchie, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “We have proven that Tennesseans respect and support the handgun permitting system. I am so disappointed at the blatant disregard Governor Lee showed to his constituents as he signed this bill into law.”

Twenty-six states require live-fire training before obtaining a permit, including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. The law 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 allows a person to carry a handgun in public even if he or she has never fired a gun before.

The Tennessean came out against the bill, citing opposition from both gun safety advocates and NRA-certified gun safety instructors. Gun safety instructors opposed the bill in the media and in a press conference at the Capitol. Last month, 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 objection to this new law. In fact, 79 percent of recent voters oppose weakening the safety training currently required under Tennessee law, including 75 percent of Republicans.