Nashville, TN – Democrats in the Tennessee General Assembly released today a list of 10 proposals to combat gun violence in Tennessee in an email blast to supporters around the state.
“Inaction is no longer an option,” state Representative G.A. Hardaway said. “Moments of silence may demonstrate respect of lives lost, but we can truly honor the deaths of our loved ones, when we follow-up by enacting common sense laws to prevent more tragic killings of innocents.”“Democrats have offered real solutions, and now we need bipartisan cooperation from our Republican colleagues in the General Assembly as well as the governor. We must do real work, immediately, to address this epidemic of violence in America, especially violent acts by foreign and domestic terrorists.”
All 10 proposals have been previously filed and will be reintroduced, or will be newly introduced in the 2017 legislative session. Not one would affect the right to own a gun.
Here are 10 evidence-based initiatives that would reduce gun violence
1. Pass Terrorist Watch List Legislation
SB 1963/HB 2023 by Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Bill Beck would have prohibited the sale of firearms to persons who are listed on the federal terrorist watchlist. SB 2468/HB 2596 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. Jason Powell would have required the TBI to consult with the Department of Safety and the FBI to determine whether any handgun carry permit holders are on the federally maintained no fly list and report the number of permit holders on the list to the General Assembly each year.
2. Pass increased penalties for firearm sellers who do not conduct background checks
SB 2310/HB 2366 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Mike Stewart would have created a Class C misdemeanor if the seller of such firearm intends to sell the firearm or does sell the firearm, without conducting a background check on the buyer.
3. Pass common sense gun purchasing legislation
SB 2311/HB 2365 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Mike Stewart would have required that when neither the seller or purchaser of a firearm is a licensed gun dealer, the transaction must be completed through a licensed gun dealer and the dealer must perform the same background check required for purchases from licensed gun dealers.
4. Pass Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) legislation
SB 2035/ HB 2546 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. Johnnie Turner would have created a mechanism for concerned family members or law enforcement officers to petition a court for a Gun Violence Restraining Order (GVRO) when there is sufficient evidence for a judge to believe that an individual may pose a danger to themselves or others. The GVRO would temporarily prohibit the individual form purchasing or possessing firearms and allow law enforcement to temporarily remove any firearms in the individual’s possession.
5. Pass MaKayla’s Law
SB 2294/HB 2058 by Sen. Sara Kyle and Rep. Sherry Jones would have held adult gun owners responsible if they left a loaded gun accessible to a child under 13 who fired the gun and injured or killed themselves or someone else.
6. Pass Safe Storage Posting Legislation
SB 2421/HB 2452 by Sen. Jeff Yarbro and Rep. Joe Towns would have required firearms dealers who sell firearms to the public to post visible signs at the point of sale informing purchasers of safe storage recommendations for firearms.
7. Pass Guns in Parks Exemption
SB 1432/HB 14069 by Sen. Lee Harris and Rep. John Ray Clemmons would have created an exemption to the Guns in Parks law prohibiting a handgun carry permit holder from carrying a firearm when entering a public park or an event occurring at the park if a ticket is required for entry and the park is owned or operated by a county or municipality, or company contracting with the government to conduct the event. It further prohibits firearms in arenas, stadiums, and structures where a professional sports team plays, practices or trains.
8. Pass legislation, similar to Hawaii’s landmark legislation, to enroll gun owners in the FBI system.
This will help alert authorities when a gun owner is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country, allowing state authorities to evaluate whether the firearm owner can continue to possess and own weapons.
9. Pass legislation to tighten domestic violence offender loopholes so they can no longer access weapons.
Let’s verify that people who have been served an order of protection or have been convicted of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing guns.
10. Pass legislation to require the State of Tennessee to study and research policies, trends and patterns on firearm violence within our state.
“It’s time for Republican leaders to join us in a bipartisan fashion or put forth solutions of their own.”
Gun violence in Tennessee
Aside from mass shootings, gun violence is a public health crisis recognized by the American Medical Association. On the whole, it includes not just high-profile tragedies but accidental shootings, suicides, altercations among acquaintances and domestic violence.
- Tennessee ranks 9th in the nation for both accidental shootings and death by firearm
- 6th in the nation for women murdered by men, most often with a gun
- 600 Tennesseans die by suicide with a gun each year