Lawmakers advance reducing penalties for gun possession

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers have advanced a proposal to eliminate jail time for carrying a gun in public without a state-issued permit.

Under the measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby, a violation would still be a misdemeanor but would only be punishable by a fine of $100 on the first offense and $200 for the second.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee advanced the measure on a voice vote on Wednesday.

The panel rejected legislation to require background checks for private gun sales. The bill was sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart of Nashville, who said he had bought an AK-47-style rifle without a background check the night before.

Meanwhile, a proposal to allow part-time faculty and staff to be armed on the campuses of public colleges was withdrawn.