NASHVILLE — State Senator John Stevens (R-Huntingdon) has filed legislation that aims to protect the Second Amendment rights of handgun carry permit holders in Tennessee when traveling to other states. The bill provides that Tennessee will honor the handgun carry permits of citizens in other states as long as they recognize those of Tennesseans.
The move comes after Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring declared in December that legal conceal and carry permits from Tennessee and 24 other states will be rejected in their state beginning February 1. Henning’s action ends the longstanding reciprocal recognition of permits between Virginia and those states, making law abiding handgun permit holders subject to arrest there.
“The decision made by the Virginia Attorney General plays into the move by the gun control lobby to disenfranchise the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens,” said Senator Stevens. “The legislation I am sponsoring pushes against that effort and lets any other state that might be considering such action know that we will stand up for the rights of Tennessee handgun carry permit holders.”
Six of the 24 states affected by the Virginia’s action to void gun carry reciprocity already have laws in place to automatically reciprocate. This means that as of February 1, Wyoming, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Louisiana and Florida will no longer accept Virginia handgun carry permits. Under Senate Bill 1702, Tennessee would join those states in requiring mutual recognition of permits.
Last week, the Center for American Progress, Washington’s leading liberal think tank, released a “Framework for Action,” recommending an annual review, like the one Herring conducted, of concealed-carry permit reciprocity agreements with other states and the rescinding of “those agreements with states that fail to meet certain standards.” The Center released 28 other steps that state executives can take which do not require approval by legislative bodies.
“Make no mistake about it, there is an aggressive national movement to take away our citizens constitutional rights to bear arms,” added Stevens. “And, part of this movement involves actions taken without the input of the people and their elected representatives.
Stevens said he plans to move the bill early in the legislative session.