As students demand stricter gun laws, some Tennessee legislators have considered reducing the first offense for carrying without a permit to just a fine.
According to the bill's founder, Representative Micah Van Huss, its aim is to help gun owners who simply forget their permit. Rather than sending that person to jail, House Bill 2586 would change the penalty from a $500 and up to six months jail to a $250 fine for the first offense.
The second offense would still be $500 and the possible jail time.
The bill received some opposition in the Civil Justice Subcommittee Tuesday, but was still passed. Representatives from the governor's office and some law enforcement agencies raised concerns about how the bill might impact the permit system.
They said it could take away an officers ability to confiscate a weapon to de-escalate a situation. However, Rep. Huss said that's not true, and any rule regulating the rights of someone to bear arms is unconstitutional.
"I do believe that the current gun laws in Tennessee are an infringement on our constitutional rights," he said. "The Second Amendment is the only constitutional right that we have to pay to exercise."