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Knoxville mayor, TBI director join growing opposition to permitless carry in Tennessee

TBI Director David Rausch said he opposes Governor Bill Lee's signature legislative initiative as well.

TENNESSEE, USA — With one resolution Tuesday night, the Knoxville City Council joined a growing opposition to Governor Bill Lee's permit-less carry proposal. 

The TBI Director, David Rausch, voiced opposition to the bill Tuesday as well, joining Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon and police chief Eve Thomas. 

If Lee's plan passes, it would mean any law-abiding adult over the age of 21 could carry a gun without a permit. 

For Knoxville mayor Inyda Kincannon, this issue is personal. 

"I had to push my children to the ground and protect them from someone who came into my church my sanctuary to try to shoot and kill us," she said.  

Kincannon was inside the Unitarian Universalist Church during a shooting 12 years ago. She worried the governor's proposal will mean more violence.

"This is an issue that hits home with me personally, but also many, many people in our community," she said. "I'm really proud of our council for sending this statement and asking our council and members of the General Assembly to oppose this legislation in favor of public safety."  

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Currently, Tennessee has two types of gun permits. If the bill passes, any law-abiding adult could carry a gun without a permit and without completing the minimum training that comes with it. 

Governor Lee said it would increase freedom for the state's citizens. 

TBI Director David Rausch disagreed. 

“We understand and appreciate what the mindset behind this legislation is and what lawmakers are attempting to do with it,” said Rausch in a statement. “I’m a Second Amendment proponent, as well, but I’m cautious when it comes to public safety. I think having some way of checking to approve a person is the best way to do that with firearms.”

“I’ve shared my concerns with the Governor and his team and will continue to work to educate lawmakers about our concerns moving forward,” he added. 

Knoxville's police chief Eve Thomas opposes the bill, as does the faculty senate at the University of Tennessee. Their resolution says more guns will likely mean more suicides. 

"Don't make it any easier for people to carry weapons and use them in unwise unsafe ways that will hurt our community," Kincannon said. 

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