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

HB 1264/SB 705 Would Allow People With no Live-Fire Training to Carry a Concealed Handgun in Public

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today criticized the Tennessee House for voting to advance HB 1264/SB 705, a bill that would weaken Tennessee’s handgun carry permitting system. The bill is on the agenda and could be heard by the Senate Finance Committee tomorrow at 1:00pm.

“Without question, this bill would threaten the safety of Tennesseans,” said Kat McRitchie, volunteer leader with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “When lawmakers undermine gun safety training requirements, no one wins. We urge lawmakers to protect the permitting system and reject this bill.”

Today, 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. Yesterday, 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 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.

The current permitting system requires live-fire training, where an individual must practice firing a gun before being granted a permit to carry a handgun in public. This bill creates a new permit that strips that and other training standards, 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.”

Training requirements are an essential part of an effective permitting system. That is why law enforcement experts, firearms trainers and military personnel agree that citizens carrying weapons in public should undertake firearm training including live fire. In fact, 26 states require live-fire training before obtaining a permit, including Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana.