NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Last year, Tennessee saw over 5,000 reported cases of people stealing guns from cars. In Nashville, there were over 1,000 alone.
“The legislature passed guns in cars several years ago that allowed anybody to drive around in their vehicle with their weapon,” Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D—Nashville) said. “Since that time, we have seen gun thefts increase almost tenfold.”
Yarbro said he’ll be reviving a bill to create punishments for people who don’t safely store their guns.
It died in the Senate Judiciary Committee this year.
“What we can’t do is just let members on these committees decide that doing nothing is okay,” Yarbro said.
The concept is one Democrats say is a no-brainer, and it actually has some Republican backing.
Back in April, the Tennessee Lookout reported House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (R—Cosby) said he’d work on the idea with Democrats.
But not every Republican—particularly in the Senate—is on board.
“Any gun owner should be responsible,” Sen. Joey Hensley (R—Hohenwald) said. “They should be responsible for that weapon, but not to the point where we blame them for someone committing a crime with a gun that was stolen from them.”
Hensley isn’t on the Judiciary Committee, but last year, most of it shared his views, saying the bill was a Second Amendment violation for Tennesseans.
“When they get where they’re going, it’s a gun-free zone, and they can’t take the gun in the facility with them,” Hensley said. “So, they’re forced to leave their weapon in their car.”
Yarbro was incensed by the notion.
“This is actually ridiculous, this notion that we’re going to go back in time to Medieval days when literally everyone went armed everywhere, all the time,” he said.
The next time the bill can come up is during regular session in January.