NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A bill to remove permitless carry legislation in Nashville and Memphis has failed to pass at the Tennessee State Capitol.
“Bodies are dropping left and right every day,” said Senator London Lamar (D), representing District 33 in Memphis. “I’m sick of hearing gunshots in my neighborhood.”
Lawmakers leading the effort said it was a way to address the “out of control” gun violence in Tennessee’s urban communities and would reinstate the previous carry regulations. Senator Lamar said the previous legislation had stricter regulations, background checks and gun safety education.
“I’m not against anybody using a gun, I own a gun, but I went through the class and I demonstrated that I know how to use it,” said Lamar. “It wasn’t hard.”
She said since the permitless carry legislation was adopted, gun violence has risen in the community she represents. She said Tennessee has the 11th highest rate of gun violence in the U.S., trending higher than the national average.
“I know it’s unrealistic for me to say we’re going to redo permitless carry in the whole state, but at least give me the tools to protect our urban cities,” said Lamar.
Lamar said law enforcement agencies and local leaders from Davidson and Shelby County have come to her, requesting the permitless carry legislation be removed because of the rise in crime.
“I’m asking you to give me the opportunity to save our citizens and our counties and let us do the right thing by instituting the permitless process back,” said Lamar. “We’re not creating a new process.”
Those who voted against the bill said they agree with the concern; however, they don’t see this helping fix the problem of gun violence.
“If I thought this would fix the problem in Shelby and Davidson and across her land, I would definitely be for it, but I don’t see this as a solution,” said Senator Paul Rose, District 32 (R).