NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three pastors from Middle Tennessee spoke out Wednesday against legislation that would allow for permitless open and concealed carry of firearms in Tennessee.
According to a spokesperson for the Southern Christian Coalition, over 250 faith leaders across the state signed a letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee in opposition to the bill. Three of the pastors speaking on behalf of the coalition attempted to deliver the letter to Governor Lee’s office but were met with opposition.
Reverend Chris Warren of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Murfreesboro said that state police refused to take the letters, even though the pastors followed the instructions given by staff from the Governor’s office the day before. State police instructed the group to take the letters to the Tennessee Tower, where the letters and pastors were refused by security.
“It is ironic that the legislature continues to debate whether the Bible should be the official book of the State of Tennessee, yet seems to miss its basic tenets (of the Scripture), said Rev. Warren, “It may be an inconvenience for those who are fully qualified enthusiasts who want to own a weapon to go through a permit process but it is an inconvenience that is well worth the lives it will save by keeping firearms from some who would misuse them.”
Committee members were sent digital copies Wednesday morning, in compliance with new practices implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 and so that members of the House Finance, Ways, and Means subcommittee had time to review the letter before the committee discussed the legislation Wednesday afternoon.
“What is especially troubling is the willingness of our leaders to sneak this legislation through as an amendment to a bill that has nothing to do with the use of firearms,” said Reverend Jay Voorhees, Pastor of City Road Chapel United Methodist Church in Madison, “Our ability to trust our leaders is eroded wen there is a lack of transparency about their intentions, and this bill is a prime example about why trust in governmental institutions is eroding.”
News 2 has reached out to Governor Bill Lee and House Speaker Cameron Sexton’s offices for comment, we will update this story when we hear back.