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How far have gun bills filed this year gotten in the Tennessee General Assembly?

WKRN Nashville 3/31/2023 Erin McCullough
© Provided by WKRN Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — More than 30 bills about guns have been filed by the 113th Tennessee General Assembly, most expanding gun access, a few restricting gun access and some eliminating fees associated with purchasing guns or permits, among others.

But not every bill filed by lawmakers will be passed by the full bodies. In fact, many won’t even be considered on the floors of the House or Senate.

News 2 looked at how far along each bill has gotten in the legislative process this session.

Read the latest from the TN State Capitol Newsroom

HB 37/SB 659: Amends the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act (TFFA) to allow for people to carry “a firearm that cannot be carried and used by one person,” a firearm that has “a bore diameter greater than [1.5″] and that uses smokeless power … as a propellant,” a firearm that “discharges two or more projectiles” with one pull of the trigger and “ammunition with a projectile that explodes using an explosion of chemical energy after the projectile leaves the firearm.” The bill also makes it illegal for any employee or elected or appointed official of a state or local government from enforcing any federal law in violation of the TFFA, and makes it a Class A misdemeanor for someone to “disenfranchise” another person’s constitutional rights as enumerated by the TFFA.

STATUS: Taken off notice in House Civil Justice Subcommittee; Assigned to General Subcommittee of Judiciary in Senate

HB 41/SB 1429: Allows all public boards of education to adopt a policy that allows for the director of schools to authorize what employees may carry a concealed handgun on school grounds. Current law states this is only allowed for boards of education in “distressed rural counties,” which was defined in statute as a county with a population between 17,000 and 17,100 or a county with a population between 5,000 and 5,100 according to the 2010 federal census.

According to data from the County Technical Advisory Service, the only two counties with those populations according to the 2010 federal census were Wayne and Pickett counties, respectively.

STATUS: Assigned to Civil Justice Subcommittee in House in February; Referred to Senate Education Committee in February

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HB 120/SB 406: Would amend an entire section of gun laws in the state to allow for the carrying of all firearms rather than just handguns. Specifically, it would replace all references of “handgun” to “firearm” in TCA 39-17-1307(g), which regulates the carrying and use of multiple weapons, including handguns, other firearms and clubs.

STATUS: Taken off notice for Criminal Justice Subcommittee in House; Assigned to General Subcommittee

HB 192/SB 488: Would allow all enhanced carry permit holders to bring a weapon onto property that prohibits it and removes the criminal penalties associated with current law.

STATUS: Withdrawn

HB 237/SB 10: Would allow Davidson and Shelby counties to roll back the “constitutional carry” law in those districts and require gun owners in both counties to have a handgun carry permit.

STATUS: Taken off notice in Civil Justice Subcommittee in House; Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee

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HB 380/SB 17: Would require certain state departments to create programs to reduce gun violence in communities, including a youth employment program, violence intervention program and a gun safety program; as well as require the health department to submit an annual report to the legislature and county governments on public health impacts on gun violence.

STATUS: Assigned to Criminal Justice Subcommittee in House in February; Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 395/SB 494: Allows anyone not otherwise prohibited from possessing a handgun to do so while hunting under certain circumstances instead of only allowing those with proper handgun carry permits.

STATUS: Set for House vote on April 3, 2023; Passed 23-5 in Senate

HB 578/SB 1121: Would eliminate the application and processing fee for an enhanced handgun carry permit.

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STATUS: Placed behind the budget in House; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee in February

HB 723/SB 515: Allows for retired law enforcement officers hired by a higher education institution to carry on school grounds if the officers retired in good standing with 20 years or service and are employed on a part-time basis by the institution.

STATUS: Passed 79-11 in House; Passed 27-6 in Senate; Signed by Senate Speaker

HB 746/SB 1037: Would prohibit any individual, corporation, business entity or local, state or federal government entity from prohibiting the possession of weapons by someone visiting for a meeting conducted by or on property owned, operated or managed under them. Would also remove the criminal offense associated with such prohibition from the current statute.

STATUS: Action in House Civil Justice Committee until first calendar of 2024; Assigned to General Subcommittee in Senate

HB 795/SB 823: Would allow for firearms to be carried inside courthouses generally while still prohibiting firearms from being brought into courtrooms specifically while judicial proceedings are in progress.

STATUS: Returned to Clerk’s Desk in House; Assigned to General Subcommittee in Senate

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HB 970/SB 958: Would require gun permit courses include information about the use of gun locks.

STATUS: Failed in Civil Justice Subcommittee in House; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee in Senate in February

HB 977/SB 827: Would allow firearms on campus at universities, colleges, and other public and private non-K-12 schools or property for persons permitted to carry.

STATUS: Taken off notice in House Civil Justice Subcommittee; Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 1005/SB 1503: Would rename the enhanced and concealed handgun carry permits the enhanced and concealed firearm carry permits, allowing permit holders to carry any firearms rather than just handguns, so long as they legally possess them. Also expands the circumstances where that permit holder may carry a firearm.

STATUS: Action deferred in House Finance, Ways, and Means Subcommittee; Placed on Senate Finance, Ways, and Means Committee calendar for April 4, 2023

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HB 1158/SB 1498: Would lower the age to obtain an enhanced or concealed carry handgun carry permit to 18; adds that those under 21 are prohibited from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in their vehicle if the vehicle is in a parking area owned, operated or while in use by any school unless they are at least 18 years old and in the military.

STATUS: Taken off notice in House Civil Justice Subcommittee; Action deferred in Senate Judiciary Committee to Jan. 23, 2024

HB 1161/SB 1488: States a person or entity is not immune from civil liability with respect to a claim based on the person’s or entity’s adoption of a policy that prohibits weapons by posting a sign saying such.

STATUS: Assigned to Civil Justice Subcommittee in House in February; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee in February

HB 1189/SB 822: Would prohibit a person from bringing any civil suit against any dealer, manufacturer or seller of a firearm, ammunition or component of a firearm or ammunition unless certain conditions are factors.

STATUS: Passed 71-24 in House; Recommended for passage in Senate

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HB 1202/HB 1325: Would authorize any faculty or staff member of a school to carry a concealed weapon on school grounds with certain stipulations, such as the person must be employed at the school where they would like to carry; they notify any School Resource Officer or School Safety/Security Officer know they will be carrying; and have joint written authorization of the director of schools and principal of the school they work and would carry at. They would be required to obtain an enhanced handgun carry permit and complete annual training. The bill would keep students from being able to carry on school grounds, however.

STATUS: Placed on Education Administration calendar for April 5, 2023; Placed on Senate Judiciary Committee for April 4, 2023

HB 1233/SB 1029: Makes storing a firearm or ammunition in a vehicle or boat while unoccupied a crime, unless they are hidden from plain view and locked within the trunks, utility or glove box or in a similarly locked container securely affixed to the vehicle or boat. Would also require the owner of said firearm or ammunition report a theft of such to law enforcement within 24 hours of the discovery of the theft.

STATUS: Placed on House Criminal Justice Subcommittee calendar for April 4, 2023; Placed on Senate Judiciary Committee for April 4, 2023

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HB 1236/SB 1526: Would enact the “Demilitarization of Police Act.” This bill would make any law enforcement agency in the state seeking surplus military equipment, including machine guns, armored vehicles, night vision scopes, camouflage fatigues and flash band grenades, to provide a written 90-day notice of such request to the joint government operations committees of the general assembly or the governing body of the funding agency’s jurisdiction. That governing body would then have to approve or deny such request by resolution. Also, the bill would require each law enforcement agency to create an inventory list of all previously acquired surplus military equipment and include the “demonstrated need” for having that equipment and the training provided for its use, as well as costs associated with its maintenance.

STATUS: Assigned to Public Service Subcommittee in House in February; Assigned to General Subcommittee in Senate

HB 1385/SB 816: Redefines what “intent to go armed” means in state law to mean a person having premeditation and forethought to commit an “infamous crime” and excludes definitively any “inadvertent or unintentional intrusion” where such weapons are not permitted.

STATUS: Placed on Criminal Justice Subcommittee calendar for April 4, 2023; Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 1439/SB 1021: Increases the penalties for someone “knowingly giving, selling, lending, delivering, or otherwise transferring” a firearm to someone who is prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under state or federal law.

STATUS: Assigned to Criminal Justice Subcommittee in House in February; Failed in Senate Judiciary Committee

HB 1456/SB 315: Allows private schools to contract with local law enforcement in order to provide School Resource Officers to the schools

STATUS: Passed 92-7 in House; Passed 2-5 in Senate; Signed by House and Senate Speakers; Transmitted to Governor Bill Lee for action

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HB 1466/SB 1343: Would redefine the term “minor” to mean someone under the age of 21 for purposes of obtaining a firearm, unless the person is currently in the military or honorably discharged from the military. The bill would also make it a Class A misdemeanor for a minor to purchase or own a firearm or for a person to sell, loan or gift a firearm to someone under ago 21 unless they’re in the military or a veteran.

STATUS: Action deferred to 2024 in Civil Justice Subcommittee in House; Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee in February

Hundreds of bills will be up for debate during the 113th General Assembly. Tennessee lawmakers shared their thoughts on some of the major issues up for discussion at this year’s legislative session.

What lawmakers had to say about: Abortion Ban Clarification | Marijuana Reform | Transgender Therapy and LGBTQ+ Rights | Dept. of Children’s Services | Education | Crime/Public Safety | More

You can also find daily coverage from the session here.

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