TN Legislature to consider gun bill - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

TN Legislature to consider gun bill

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier to openly carry a handgun.

If it passes, you won’t need to take a safety class or pay money to get a permit.

Supporters say it would bring Tennessee’s weapon laws for open carry in line with many other states but people against the bill say it’s a safety issue.

Mark Haskins is retired from the Chattanooga Police Department and he now teaches gun permit classes at Shooter’s Depot on Shallowford Road.

He’s paying close attention to gun bills being debated in the state legislature and this one recently caught his attention.      

“The idea of people out here running around with loaded guns on their hip with no training, I don't think it's a good idea,” Haskins told Channel 3.

Under the proposed law, you wouldn’t need a permit to carry a handgun openly, however, you’d still have to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun which requires taking classes and paying a fee.

“I see people coming in with various levels of knowledge about the law and there's a lot of misconceptions about when they can use deadly force and when they can't use deadly force and these classes are a big eye opener for a lot of people,” said Haskins.

His primary concern is education and safety training.

“I think it's a bad idea because now you've got people walking around with no training you don't know if they've had a background check or not and with the permit system they have to have training, they have to have a background check and it's pretty strict,” Haskins told Channel 3.

The bill states it would enact the “Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act.” It’s not the first time the bill has been introduced.  Lawmakers have proposed it a couple of times before but it did not pass.

Republican State Representative Micah Van Huss of District 6 is the sponsor of House Bill 40.

Republican Senator Mae Beavers of District 17 is sponsoring the companion bill, Senate Bill 147.

The bill will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.

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