Tennessee lawmakers kill a pair of pro-gun bills

Lawmakers in a Tennessee House panel have voted against two bills that would have made it much easier for lawful gun owners to carry concealed handguns in the state.

According to the Tennessean, the House Civil Justice Subcommittee shot down the measures Wednesday, one sponsored by Republican Rep. Micah Van Huss and the other by Republican Rep. Andy Holt.

Van Huss’s proposal — House Bill 40, also known as the “Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act” — would have allowed all lawful gun owners with handgun permits to carry firearms openly or concealed, removing certain restrictions to the state’s current concealed carry law.

“There is a movement of freedom sweeping our nation … I would very much like to join that movement,” Van Huss told the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

The bill met resistance from Democrats and Republicans, who said some of their constituents were concerned.

Van Huss vowed to continue to fight for Second Amendment rights, saying, “I think Tennesseans are ready for (constitutional carry) but the Legislature isn’t.”

Holt’s proposal, which was also voted against, took a more direct route and would have repealed the permit requirement to carry a handgun openly or concealed. The measure, House Bill 493, would have also expanded the areas where guns could be carried.

Channeling 18th-century legal philosopher Cesare Beccaria, Holt argued weapons restrictions do more to harm the unarmed than to protect the armed.