TN bill could categorize gun owners as ‘law enforcement’

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers are considering a plan to expand gun rights that would recognize some gun owners as law enforcement officers, and it’s drawing fire from some law enforcement personnel order.

Shelby County District Attorney General Amy Weirich said citizens deserve the right to defend themselves, but that may be taking things to the extreme.

“It would create unnecessary confusion and chaos for law enforcement,” Weirich said on WREG’s Live At 9 show on Wednesday.

The bill, HB2554 and SB2523, would expand the state’s definition of “law enforcement officer” to include a person who has received an enhanced handgun license, according to a summary on the site. State Legislature Web. This would allow them to carry weapons even where private companies prohibit them.

However, one of the bill’s sponsors said there had been “a lot of confusion” over the legislation.

“The intent of HB 2554 is to reduce restrictions on holders of enhanced weapons licenses,” Rep. Chris Hurt (R-Halls) said. “That’s not to say that someone with an enhanced firearms license should be considered a law enforcement officer.

“We are working with all stakeholders to further clarify the language and I plan to present it to committee in the coming weeks.”

The bill was referred to subcommittees of both houses.

According to the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security and Safety, more than 736,000 people already hold an enhanced gun license in Tennessee, and to get one, all you need to do is complete an 8-hour safety course. and pay a fee of $100.

Some fear the move could lead to more violence, especially in areas where gun crime is already a problem.

Memphis leaders pleaded with Governor Lee in 2021 to let Shelby County out of legislation allowing citizens to carry guns without a license. However, they failed.

Since then, Memphis has seen a drastic increase in gun crimes.

“We have gone to great lengths to urge them not to pass this legislation and/or to exclude Shelby County from it,” Weinrich said. “People with guns in Memphis are completely different from people with guns in rural jurisdictions where you can drive for miles before you see another citizen.”

Weirich also said the number of guns stolen has tripled since the legislation was passed.

“I’m certainly in favor of anything that encourages someone to walk around with a lethal weapon on our streets for having at least minimal training in how to do it, not law enforcement training, but at least a civic quality,” she said. .

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