All About Guns

Tennessee bill could let enhanced carry holders bypass business gun restrictions by Kaitlin Miller

A bill filed in the Tennessee House this week would allow those with enhanced handgun carry permits to bring a firearm into businesses that restrict weapons.

HB2032 was filed by Rep. Jody Barrett (R-Dickson) on Tuesday. The legislation would “remove the offense of possessing a weapon in a building that prohibits or restricts weapons” – meaning those with enhanced carry permits would not be penalized for carrying.

Those working in the business could still deny them service. Rep. Barrett says businesses still have the right to ask customers to leave if they have a sign posted out front that prohibits handguns. He explains it just wouldn’t make it a crime anymore.

“People should not be walking in the traps so to speak and getting charged with a crime when they really had no intent of doing any harm to the public,” Barrett explained.

Barrett says the goal is to not make law abiding citizens criminals.

Nashville attorney Ben Raybin explains how this is different than our current law.

“Right now, if you post the sign and somebody comes in the business, they can call the police and have you arrested, and if they were to change the law then all it would allow them to do is at most ask you to leave. And then if you don’t, then potentially they could call the police that you’re trespassing,” Raybin explained.

Barrett adds if a person carrying refuses to leave a business and is charged for trespassing, they run the risk of getting their permit revoked, so he says it encourages people to cooperate and Barrett adds hopefully decrease the number of guns being stolen out of cars.

“That’s when cars are getting broken into, and weapons are getting stolen so this will help curtail some of that. I said all along the safest place for a firearm is on the hip in the holster of the person that owns it,” Barrett emphasized.

Barrett says criminals have a history of looking to steal from cars parked outside of establishments that prohibit firearms.

Barrett says the bill has been filed and still has to go through first and second reading. He adds he has a Senate sponsor reviewing the bill now.

If the bill passes this legislative session, it would take effect July 1.

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