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Proposed bills in Tennessee would allow gun owners to act as law enforcement

The bills have been met with opposition from law enforcement groups.
Brandon Evans
Posted at 1:05 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 13:45:02-05

NASHVILLE — Lawmakers in Tennessee have proposed two controversial bills that would essentially allow some gun owners to act as law enforcement.

HB 254 and SB2523 designate "a person who has been issued an enhanced handgun carry permit" as a member of law enforcement, under certain circumstances.

The bills allow permit holders to carry a gun where police can carry one.

State senator Joey Hensley, who introduced SB 2523, told ABC News the legislation does not make gun holders police officers.

Currently in Tennessee, any adult can apply for an enhanced gun permit, which allows open and concealed carry.

The applicant must pay a $100 fee and go through an eight-hour handgun safety course.

However, several groups can get exemption from the training, including registered armed guard, military members and veterans.

The Tennessee State Lodge for the Fraternal Order of Police has told it is opposed to this bill, essentially saying that civilians are not versed in “criminal law, defense tactics” the way police officers are.

A hearing has not yet been set for the bills.