The Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, today released the following statement after the House Judiciary Committee advanced HB 2817, permitless carry legislation:
“Gun violence hasn’t stopped during the coronavirus pandemic – but unfortunately, our lawmakers also haven’t stopped trying to dismantle the cornerstone of responsible gun ownership in Tennessee,” said Leeann Hewlett, a volunteer with the Tennessee chapter of Moms Demand Action. “They’ve picked the gun lobby over gun safety instructors, business leaders, local officials, and 93 percent of their constituents.”
“It’s just common sense – if you want to carry a concealed gun in public, you should go through a background check and have at least some training,” said Isabella Reish, a volunteer with Rutherford Students Demand Action. “But even in the middle of a pandemic, our lawmakers are still pushing their ‘guns everywhere, for anyone’ agenda.”
Last week, over 100 Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers joined medical experts, business leaders, community organizers, and gun safety instructors for a virtual town hall to discuss gun violence prevention during the pandemic and to urge legislators to reject proposed permitless carry legislation. In March, more than 300 Moms Demand Action volunteers traveled to the Capitol to urge lawmakers to oppose this bill. And gun safety instructors, law enforcement, faith leaders, and healthcare executives joined Moms Demand Action volunteers for a press call in opposition to permitless carry.
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 1,100 Tennesseans are shot and killed every year. Between 2009 and 2018, the state’s rate of gun deaths increased by 18 percent.