Gardenhire rejects right to bear arms in gun vote ‘pass’

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, “establishment” Republican

Sen. Todd Gardenhire, “establishment” Republican

Senator Mark Green presented his constitutional carry bill (SB1483) Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary committee but it failed thanks to Chattanooga Sen. Todd Gardenhire, a Republican.

The bill would have, as amended, imposed only the burden on a citizen of obtaining at least eight hours of training from any state approved, law enforcement or military certified firearms training instructor and that the citizen carry proof of such training.

In an interview today with David Tulis, Sen. Gardenhire said it is a “terrible bill” and that he decided to not vote on it for two main reasons. It contained no provisions for people involved in court orders of protection and did not account for people who’d gone through drug rehab. He objected to the role the Tennessee Firearms Association played in drafting the measure.

The bill is retained in Senate Judiciary on a 4-4-1 vote. It is not defeated but it can be placed back on notice under the Senate rules or it can be moved by the sponsor, Sen. Green, to be brought directly to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.

By John Harris

Sen. Mark Green did a great job of presenting and defending the bill.  You can view the video of his presentation on the bill’s legislative page under the “video” tab.

You should also watch the video and pay particular attention to other other segments of the video – but only if you have a strong stomach.

First, Sen. Kerry Roberts made very compelling statements and challenges to the existing system and question why a constitutional right is burdened by the State of Tennessee with fees and hurdles.  Those of you in Sen. Green’s and Sen. Robert’s districts should contact them and congratulate them.

Haslam mouthpiece Trott defends rules

However, there was extremely troubling testimony from Colonel Tracy Trott (Tennessee Department of Safety – suggesting that its necessary for the State to regulate and continue to charge citizens for the exercise of a constitutionally protected right.

It is important to realize that this bill does not eliminate permits for reciprocity or other purposes.   Col. Trott’s testimony against this legislation is, although difficult to summarize, troubling and perhaps calls into question why a public official, who is sworn to uphold and protect our constitutional rights, is engaging in what appears to be an open act of official oppression designed specifically to infringe our civil rights – a constitutionally recognized and protected civil right.  Most likely, it is because his ultimate boss, Bill Haslam, opposes citizens carrying firearms as a constitutional right despite his promises to the contrary.  See,

Reported verbal commitments from legislators in advance of the meeting indicated that we should have had a 6 to 3 vote on the bill.  The six expected votes ran on party lines with the two Democrats (Sen. Lee Harris and Sen. Sarah Kyle) along with Sen. Doug Overby, a Republic who normally votes like a Democrat all expected to vote against the bill.  However, contact had been made with all six of the other Republicans and they were expected to vote for the bill:  Sen. Mike Bell, Sen. Janice Bowling, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Sen. Brian Kelsey, Sen. Kerry Roberts and Sen. John Stevens.

Gardenhire pulls an Obama

However, when the votes were taken only four votes were cast in favor of the bill:  Sens. Mike Bell, Janice Bowling, Brian Kelsey, and Kerry Roberts.  Each of these deserve a thank you for their votes.

Significantly, it could be argued that two of the remaining Republicans, Sen. Gardenhire and Sen. John Stevens, are solely and exclusive at fault for holding this legislation hostage in the committee.  Sen. Gardenhire “passed” – that is he pulled a Barack Obama and was “present but not voting.”   Equally troubling but not totally unexpected was Sen. John Stevens who voted “no” on the bill.   Those of you who live in the districts of these two senators – or anywhere in the state – should let them know how you feel about their actions (and you may even want to consider running against them in their 2016 primary races since both of them appear to be up for re-election this year!)

Sen. Todd Gardenhire
301 6th Avenue North
Suite 11A Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-6682
Fax: (615) 253-0209

District Address
P.O. Box 4506
Chattanooga, TN 37405

Sen. John Stevens
301 6th Avenue North
Suite 302 War Memorial Bldg.
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 741-4576
Fax: (615) 253-0161

Support the TFA

This battle is not over but we have to accept that Gov. Haslam, his minions and too many people living their lives on your tax dollars, as well as several elected officials, are doing everything in their powers to oppress your rights.  If that irritates you, please join or renew your membership in the Tennessee Firearms Association at

Also, please consider making PAC contributions to the TFA’s PAC (the TFALAC) so that we can raise the funds to support challengers to some of these oath-breaking incumbents and defend those who stand up for our constitutions!  Please go now and contribute $50, $100, $250, or whatever you can to fund this battle against the “oath breakers.”

— John Harris is head of the Tennessee Firearms Association in Nashville. He is an attorney.

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