Mixed reactions to proposed open carry gun law in Tennessee - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Mixed reactions to proposed open carry gun law in Tennessee

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Tennesseans will be able to openly carry guns without state-issued permits if the governor signs a new bill. The measure passed the Senate Tuesday, with overwhelming support.

The proposed law would do away with the requirement that gun owners go through a background check and training, to obtain a permit to carry a handgun in public. Gun owners would only have to get a permit if they plan to conceal their weapons.

"Anybody who wants to play like they're a cowboy with a gun out, to me, is maybe a little questionable," says firearm instructor Joe Cochis, at Shooter's Depot.

Cochis says do not get him wrong, he supports the right to bear arms.

"I believe every citizen, honest citizen, who doesn't have a record, should have a right to have a firearm. I believe in the second amendment," he says.

He says the new open carry law passed in the State Senate brings increased risk, a topic he covers in his course.

"I always encourage my students never to reveal the gun. It's best to conceal it," says Cochis.

He says besides safety, it could be unnerving for others.

"The element of surprise is so important. Not only that, to see a firearm is upsetting. I would be upset if I see somebody coming near my family with a firearm."

Most law enforcement agree. McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy tells Channel 3, "I fully support citizens' right to carry, but in our firearms safety programs we advise citizens, as well as our off-duty officers, to carry concealed. It's simply a matter of safety, is less visually intrusive, and is also an advantage tactically."

"I'm not going to carry a gun, anyway," says gun owner Paul Gilliand.

Gilliland says he does not think many people would openly carry, even if the law passes.

"It doesn't matter to me. I don't have a gun permit anyway. I just have it for home protection. I usually have it at home only," says Gilliland.

Others are more passionate about the topic.

"I want them to have it. That way if you're beating me up or he's beating me up, they can maybe protect me, you know?" says Tommy Clayton.

Tommy clayton says there are too many restrictions on guns as it is.

"They don't want you to be protected. They want more big government and all that sort of stuff. The more big government you have, the less freedom you have," says Clayton.

"It has to be done with good discretion," says Cochis.

Bottom line, Cochis says either way, gun owners must be responsible.

"I just think guns should be concealed. And if you need them, God forbid, you need them and you have a right to protect yourself, only when your life is threatened. No other reason."

The governor says he is reviewing the bill. It still has to pass a vote in the budget subcommittee, of the House Finance Committee, which placed an indefinite hold on the vote Wednesday.
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