While all but one gun bill was postponed for another week, one development did add to the political dynamic this week.
The Executive Director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action in Fairfax, Va., spent two days walking the halls of Legislative Plaza. Reportedly, the NRA is very unhappy with House and Senate leadership for their willingness to make exceptions to two bills (SB3002/HB3560, and SB2992/HB3559) authored by the NRA.
Exceptions include allowing property and business owners to set gun policies for their properties and retaining current state law on prohibitions on school grounds and college and university campuses.
One gun bill passed: HB3499. It would exempt persons from prosecution if they unknowingly transported firearms without intent to go armed. Some are concerned this is merely a caption bill, serving as a “Trojan Horse” for a broader purpose later in the legislative process. The bill broadly opens a caption that could easily be used for other purposes related to the carrying and possession of firearms.
Thus far, a coalition of business interests, hospitals, and higher education have been successful in getting House and Senate leadership and a number of rank and file members to be sensitive to private property rights and workplace safety ramifications of the legislation. The coalition includes UT, TBR, and the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) and is encouraging its members and supporters to contact their legislators and ask them to oppose these bills. The groups maintain current state law adequately allows those who need to possess firearms on campuses to do so.