NASHVILLE, Tenn. – State lawmakers have passed legislation to allow Tennessee residents to carry handguns without a carry permit.
The House voted 64-29 Monday evening to pass House Bill 786.
Earlier Monday, gun control advocates, emergency room doctors and pastors — representing nearly 800 faith-based leaders stood shoulder to shoulder calling on Governor Bill Lee to reject one of his top legislative priorities.
“The permitless carry of firearms that can take life unjustly is immoral,” one pastor said.
Shaundelle Brooks, the mother of Akilah Aasilva a Waffle House shooting victim said, “We don’t want your sympathy, we want your action.”
Brooks, a leading voice on on gun control measures, was part of the group to attempt to deliver the letters to the door step of the Governor but was denied.
However, Lee didn’t back down.
“I think it’s really important in our state that we that we protect the lives of Tennesseans, that we protect the constitutional rights of Tennesseans that we fight crime including gun crime wherever we can— I think it’s possible to do all of those,” Lee said.
Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, pastor emeritus of New Covenant Christian Church in Nashville.
“It is well known by the faith community that Governor Lee’s connection and commitment to the money and influence of the NRA over against the will of 84 percent of Tennesseans and the advice of numerous experts including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association,” Cummings said. Adding, “Governor Lee clearly, clearly demonstrates his corruption and commitment to political donations and power over the will and safety of Tennesseans.”
The bill is a part of what Governor Lee is calling his public safety agenda.
The legislation also increases criminal penalties including a class e felony for stealing guns.