Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Democrats "outgunned" in the Legislature

According to Andy Sher of the Times Free Press, 22 Republicans and 12 Democrats in the Legislature have permits to carry loaded handguns. That's a little over a quarter of the members. Holding a permit is not necessarily an indicator of one's position on the different gun bills in the Legislature this year:

“One of four has it? I’m really surprised,” said Rep. Naifeh. He noted he obtained his permit in part last year to demonstrate he was not anti-gun but largely “anti-gun in bars” when he blocked handgun-carry permit bills in a House subcommittee.

No local legislators have gun permits, according to a review of the Safety Department database. The handgun permit totals do not include as many as five other lawmakers eligible to carry guns as current or retired members of law enforcement.

While then-Speaker Naifeh blocked many of the bills in recent years, the issue has taken on new life with the election of a new House Speaker, Kent Williams of Elizabethton, a Republican-turned independent, who does not hold a permit, records show.

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