USA -(Ammoland.com)- Last week, Tennesseans heard “a great disturbance in the Force” as a small group of House legislators killed three specific bills – constitutional carry, permitless open carry, and improved civil immunity.
All three bills were killed in the same House subcommittee – The House Civil Justice Subcommittee – on March 29.
Here are the details.
The subcommittee has only 7 members. The entire House has 99 embers so that is just over 7 percent of the entire state's elected representatives had a “voice” in the travesty.
The subcommittee is chaired by Mike Carter (R) and has 5 Republicans and 2 Democrats.
It is comprised of:
All three bills were “killed” by the legislative subcommittee on March 29.
Andy Holt had HB0493 which is the constitutional carry legislation supported and written by TFA. According to the legislative status page on this bill, the “nayes prevailed” on a voice vote which means that not a single member of the committee wanted to be recorded as voting yes on the bill. Not a single one.
Also on this bill, it is noteworthy that the Governor's lobbyist asked to be heard at the podium to announce that the Governor opposes Constituitional Carry legislation.
Andy Holt also had HB1006 which is the improved civil immunity legislation that TFA wrote. This bill would have required law enforcement to consider whether a situation involved justifiable self-defense before arresting a civilian.
That is, it would have adopted a higher level of review in a civilian self-defense case more along the lines of the type of in depth review that law enforcement receives when it shoots.
According to the legislative status page on this bill, the “nayes prevailed” on a voice vote which means that not a single member of the committee wanted to be recorded as voting yes on the bill. Not a single one.
Micah VanHuss also offered HB0040 which would have placed Tennessee in the same status as 30 other states which do not require permits or other state requirements for open carry. Although this bill also failed on a “voice vote”, two legislators – Carter and Moody did specifically request that they be recorded as voting yes on these bills.
As many of you will recall, most elected Republicans in the General Assembly run around campaigning telling people that they support the 2nd Amendment, that they believe in your rights, that they are conservatives and that they are loyal to their oaths to the constitutions. The fact is, actions speak louder than words.
Now, it is critical that you understand this next point! Just because your legislator's name is not on the above list does it mean that they get a “pass”. They could have and should have applied pressure on these legislators in the secret “caucus” meetings and otherwise to demand that these bills be brought to the floor. Some may have but clearly most did not.
Also, don't let your legislators tell you that they are helpless because the bill was defeated in committee. They are not!! Both the Senate and the House have rules that expressly provide a means of dealing with bills that are stonewalled, in this case repeatedly, by renegade subcommittees.
Those rules are called “recall motions” and in the House its Rule 53. Rule 53 states:
53. RECALL OF BILL FROM COMMITTEE. Except during the organizational session, after any bill or other matter shall have been in any standing committee for seven (7) days, the same may be called for by two-thirds (2/3) of the members to which the body is entitled under the Constitution and placed upon the calendar of the Calendar & Rules Committee.
Such action shall be in order only after a signed notice giving the number of the bill to be called for has been filed with and announced by the Clerk at least one (1) day prior to offering a motion to withdraw said bill from the standing committee in which it is held.
When a bill has been recalled from a standing committee to which it was assigned by the Speaker, it shall be placed at the top of the Calendar & Rules calendar on the next day on which the committee meets. This rule (rule 53) may not be suspended.
Do you want to see Constitutional Carry, Permitless Open Carry and Civil Immunity Protections debated this year on the House Floor?
Call your legislators and demand that they sign on to a recall motion under Rule 53 on each of these bills and that they commit to the sponsors to provide the 2/3 votes required to save these bills from Harwell's committee system and put them on the floor so that all 99 elected members can debate and vote on them!
You can get the contact information for all legislators (and look up your legislators) at these two links:
If you appreciate these reports, please join Tennessee Firearms Association at join.tennesseefirearms.com or, if you are a current member, consider a supplemental member contribution to help cover the costs of collecting and organizing this information.
Tennessee Firearms Association
P.S. 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.