Advocate discusses bill allowing open carry of long guns

JACKSON, Tenn. — Tennessee state legislators proposed a law that could affect concealed carry laws.

According to the West Tennessee Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, Richard Archie, House Bill 1005 and Senate Bill 1503 would do three things.

He says first, the bills remove the criminal aspect of carrying a firearm in West Tennessee.

“In Tennessee right now, the code section is 39-17-1307-(a)(1), says it is an offense to carry a loaded firearm or a club. An offense is a crime. What this bill would do is remove the criminal aspect, take that out of our code section,” Archie said.

The second thing the bills would change is what firearms you are allowed to carry.

The bills would allow any citizen in Tennessee that could previously carry a handgun to now legally carry a long gun.

This means that open carry of a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, would become legal.

“Tennessee is one of only four states across the nation that calls it a crime for you to carry a long gun. If you look at all the states that touch Tennessee, it is lawful for you to carry a long gun without having to perfect a permit. If you look at a map, there’s Tennessee sitting in the middle, and Florida down on the bottom right hand side, and then two other states, New York and New Jersey, that call it a crime. Every other state in the republic allows the carry of long guns without a permit,” Archie said.

The third thing the bill would do is change the legal age for carrying a firearm from 21 to 18.

“What we’re doing is catching up with a number of other states, and we’re simply saying if you can be forced to carry a firearm in defense of the republic, the state is now going to allow you to carry a firearm in self defense, which has been illegal until this bill would take place,” Archie said.

However, this bill could be concerning to some. On March 8, there was a Civil Justice Committee meeting that discussed the bill, where a representative from Gov. Bill Lee’s Office and the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation expressed their concerns about the bill.

“As we’ve looked at this legislation and talked with the governor about it, his position on this is that he is opposed to it. With his main concern being the change from ‘handgun’ to ‘firearm’ and what that would look like as a public policy matter and in practice,” said Brent Easley, the Legislative Director for the governor.

On March 10, we conducted a poll to see if our viewers supported or opposed the bill.

To those concerned with seeing long guns in public, the decision doesn’t end with lawmakers.

“Well, you know, everybody’s afraid that you’re going to see AR-15s in Walmart. In Tennessee, under 39-17-1359, any establishment can post anything they want to keep any weapon or whatsoever out of that establishment. So all they have to do is put up a sign that says no long guns allowed, and then no one can carry one inside,” Archie said.

Another piece of legislation, House Bill 0746 and Senate Bill 1037, would prohibit property owners from placing signs that ban firearms from their property.

As introduced, it “removes the authorization for an individual, corporation, business entity, or local, state, or federal government entity to prohibit the possession of weapons by a person who is at a meeting conducted by or on property owned, operated, or managed or under the control of the individual, corporation, business entity, or government entity.”

You can read more and find a map about open carry from the United States Concealed Carry Association here.

SEE ALSO: Bills, resolutions regarding firearms discussed in Nashville

SEE ALSO: Bills aimed at reducing gun deaths fail in TN Senate

You can find more news from across the state here.

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