Tennessee GOP Pushes Gun Bill Over Law Enforcement Concerns

Members of the Tennessee House debate a bill allowing most adults to carry handguns without obtaining a permit Monday, March 29, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. The bill passed the House, 64-29, and can now be signed into law by Gov. Bill Lee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) The Associated Press NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — When Tennessee lawmakers pushed last summer to increase penalties against demonstrators demanding police reform, they did so in the name of supporting law enforcement. But when police advocacy groups asked them not to remove background checks and training requirements for most people seeking to carry a handgun, Republicans in charge at the Capitol were decidedly less responsive. Support for the permitless carry bill this year reflects an uncomfortable tension between GOP leaders’ tendency to heap praise on law enforcement while ignoring those same officials’ criticism of legislation that would remove the last vestige of permitting requirements for most gun owners. The Tennessee debate is playing out as national leaders call for increasing gun regulation in the aftermath of two mass shootings. President Joe Biden has called on Congress to act, and his fellow Democrats have said they’re pushing toward measures that would do the opposite of the Tennessee measure — expand background checks. But Congress hasn’t passed any major gun regulations since the mid-1990s, leaving most significant gun legislation in states’ hands, where new laws tend to lean in favor of expanding rights. Tennessee police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors have defended the state’s existing gun permit system, […]

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