Local community leaders speak on governor’s gun plan

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Local community leaders are voicing their opinions on proposed legislation that would remove handgun permit requirements in Tennessee.

Stevie Moore with Freedom From Unnecessary Negatives lost his son 17 years ago due to gun violence. So, when he heard about Gov. Bill Lee's proposal, his first thought for the families who've already lost kids to gun violence, such as the family of 16-year-old Jordan Milan.

"Funeral tomorrow. A 16-year-old killed and we talking about making it easier for people to have guns? What kind of nonsense is that?" Moore said.

If the legislation passes, Tennessee would join 16 other states that allow for "constitutional carry." It would allow law abiding citizens aged 21 and up to carry a handgun without a permit. The measure also add tougher penalties for gun crimes.

Supporters say it upholds the Second Amendment for law abiding citizens.

"It says in the constitution that we have the right to bear arms. It doesn't say anywhere in there you have to get a permit first,” said former Shelby County commissioner Terry Roland.

But Moore believes it's going to have the opposite effect for communities already inundated with gun violence.

"But how do we make sure only law abiding citizens can have those guns?" Moore asked.

Gun safety instructors are concerned about the ease of people getting and operating a firearm with no training or education.

"Now they're going to be able to carry that gun out in public with my wife and my children and me, you and everybody else," said firearm safety instructor Will Dougan. "Now they're not just a danger to themselves, they're a danger to everyone else and that's the real problem."

"When you make a law like this, you're just opening the door to a floodgate," Moore said. "The criminals sitting back smiling and clapping their hands like 'wow we got it now.'"

Moore's organization will hold a press conference Saturday at noon in response to the governor's proposal.

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