Knoxville Police Chief, gun owners weigh in on Tennessee's open

Knoxville Police Chief, gun owners weigh in on Tennessee's open carry bill


6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The bill that would have allowed Tennessee residents to openly carry a gun without a permit was shot down by the House Monday night.

The state Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill last week, but it failed 10-1 in a House subcommittee vote.

It drew a mixed response from local law enforcement and gun owners.

"The system is not broke, so I'm not sure what the legislature is trying to fix," Knoxville Chief of Police David Rausch said.

Rausch says the state should not allow people to openly carry guns without a permit.

"Our concern with an unrestrictive carry is that you're going to have people who should not be carrying firearms and have no training to carry these firearms, so we absolutely adamantly oppose this legislation," Rausch said.

He also says this would create a heavy burden on law enforcement, and add a whole new level of danger to the community.

"You get images of the old wild west, of people carrying firearms openly," Rausch said.

But gun owner Siobhan Simcox says she's all for the bill.

"I believe it's our right as American citizens to be able to carry, whether it be open, conceal. I like the fact that we can openly carry without a permit," Simcox said.

As a paramedic, Simcox says she sees firsthand the effects of gun violence, but says criminals will do what they want regardless of the law.

"What's the use of not protecting yourself when there's others not following the rules anyway," Simcox said.

"It's hard to say which way I would go if I were there to vote on it," said Jon Carter, the operational manager at Tactical Advantage Corp in Knoxville.

Carter says he relates to both sides of the issue.

"Even with gun owners you'll probably find half and half, half saying ya our constitutional right says we should probably be able to do that, the other half would probably say well without a safety course, without some kind of regulation, I don't know, Carter said.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Micah Van Huss, says since the bill failed Monday night, he will walk away from it.

It is still scheduled to be heard on Tuesday.




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