Tennessee – -(Ammoland.com)- The Tennessee Firearms Association is a strong supporter of the Constitution which means, obviously, TFA supports Constitutional Carry. TFA supports public officials who support our constitutional rights and TFA works to expose public officials who claim to do so but break their promises.
The Knoxville News Sentinel is running a column, written by Frank Cagle, which asserts without any data that constitutional carry legislation by Sen. Mark Green (and Rep. Andy Holt) this year is both “dangerous” and “irresponsible.” While that is at most a matter of opinion rather than fact, it is clear is that running columns such as this is allowed under the 1st Amendment even if some might find that it is nothing more than an opinion masquerading as news.
So, let's look at real facts.
- 1) The 2nd Amendment says that the right to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee constitution (1870) likewise notes the rights to keep, bear and also to “wear” arms.
- 2) The Supreme Court has held in the Heller case that the 2nd Amendment protects an individual right that existed prior to the constitution's adoption. The 2nd Amendment does not create the right, it protects a right that is independent of the constitution.
- 3) The Supreme Court held in the McDonald case that the 2nd Amendment, by operation of the 14th Amendment, prohibits states from infringing the individual's right to keep and bear arms.
Now, let's look at some data.
The term Constitutional Carry means that anyone who is legally eligible to possess a firearm is legally able to carry it, openly or concealed, without begging permission from government bureaucrats. This is exactly how many of us grew up with pocket knives and it is how Vermont's law has been since it became a state in the 1700s.
Constitutional Carry is now law in 12 states. As of 1 January 2017, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Puerto Rico, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming do not require a permit to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, for any person of age (usually 21 and older; 18 in Missouri) who is not prohibited from owning a firearm. Permitless carry in Idaho and Wyoming is applicable to residents only. All aforementioned jurisdictions do not require a permit to openly carry either except for certain localities in Missouri. As of February 2017, New Hampshire has jointed the states as soon as that law goes into effect there which will bring the number to 13.
There are a few instances where constitutional carry is allowed in parts of other states or only under certain limits. Thus, some states have a form of permitless carry which is restricted based on one or more of the following: a person's location, the loaded/unloaded state of the firearm, or the specific persons who may carry without a permit. As of mid 2016, these states were Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Then, there are 30 states, again with slight deviations depending on how you count, that allow citizens to carry firearms openly without any background checks, training or permits. Every state that touches Tennessee, with the exception of Georgia, allows the permitless open carry of firearms. That is SIXTY PERCENT of the states, and by land mass a greater percentage, than that which allow citizens to carry without government “infringement“.
If you search for credible reports that address whether the risk of being accidentally shot or injured by a civilian who is otherwise legally carrying a firearm in one of these 30+ states that have some form of Constitutional Carry, you will not find evidence that imposing training requirements, background checks or “fees” has any causal connection to making states such as Tennessee – which imposes all of those infringements – a venue where someone is materially less likely to be accidentally shot by an otherwise legally carrying citizen. That's right, there are no credible reports that the training, fees or background checks actually make us safer. Yet, from 2008 to 2014, Tennessee “taxed” its citizens who desired to carry firearms by more than $50 million dollars to impose such restrictions.
But let's temporarily set aside the constitutional question regarding whether a state should be able to infringe a fundamental right with fees, background checks, or training requirements. Even if it is argued that the constitution does not prohibit the equivalent of a “poll tax” on the 2nd Amendment guarantee, is there evidence that doing so actually makes the population at large safer? The answer is that there is no credible evidence that imposing these state restrictions has a direct causal effect on making the citizens safer from accidental injury by citizens who do chose to exercise the right to carry.
Yet, the Knoxville News Sentinel and Mr. Cagle leap to the conclusion that the very idea of adopting constitutional carry is “irresponsible.” But based on what – personal opinion or prejudice?
Where is the data that shows that restricting a citizen's constitutional rights on whether they have paid a “tax” of $100 or more, paid for a state approved training course and undergone yet another background check is the ONLY responsible way for a state to deal with the desire of 10% or more of its citizens to carry firearms for self-defense?
TFA applauds Senator Mark Green, Senator Mae Beavers, Rep. Andy Holt, Rep. Judd Matheny, Rep. Micah Van Huss, and others who continue to demand on behalf of the citizens of the State of Tennessee have the unconstitutional infringements removed from their basic, fundamental rights. Legislators like these are working to make Tennessee a great state where constitutional rights are not subjugated to uninformed, unsupported, biased opinions. They need your support and Tennessee needs more like them.
Tennessee Firearms Association
PS If you want to help us move to get rid of gun free zones, to enact constitutional carry, and to push back against an unwilling legislative leadership and an uncooperative administration, please consider this request to join, renew and support the Tennessee Firearms Association. Asking for your member support of TFA is a call to action both financially and, more importantly, a call to affirmative action of individual engagement in a real battle for the restoration of our rights.
Other important links
TFA Website: www.tennesseefirearms.com
TFA PAC: www.tfalac.org
Facebook TFA Page: www.facebook.com/Tennfirearms/
Facebook TFA Group: www.facebook.com/groups/TennesseeFirearms/