Several hundred people in red t-shirts wanted their voices heard today on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill.
The group called Moms Demand Action on Gun Violence in America packed a House sub-committee meeting on Wednesday to rally against a bill that could change the state’s handgun permit process, making it easier to carry in Tennessee.
“The intention of the legislation is generally to provide a lower-cost alternative for a concealed carry handgun permit,” explained House sponsor Rep. Andy Holt. “It would create an enhanced carry permit, which would be the current permit that we have right now. In addition to that, if the legislation were to pass, then at that point we would create a concealed-only handgun carry permit, which can be achieved at a lower cost.”
Rep. Holt admits his bill is a work in progress. However, the members of Mom’s Demand Action says no changes to Tennessee’s permitting process are necessary.
“Ninety-three percent of Tennesseans support the permitting system that we already have,” Nashville volunteer Kathleen Chandler told News 2.
Chandler is concerned the bill would weaken the part of the gun permitting system that includes certain types of instruction and training.
“I know that my sister in Knoxville with her concealed carry [permit] went through the class and had to practice shooting the gun,” Chandler explained. “She thinks that we have a good permitting system.”
While the bill was amended Wednesday, Rep. Holt said it could see more changes.
Another bill the group wants to change is a measure reducing penalties for first-time offenders of gun carry laws. It would also prevent police from seizing the weapon for the offense.