Are Tennessee Officials Discouraging Concealed Carry on Public Transportation?

Tennesseans with valid permits can now carry concealed on public buses, thanks to a new law that took effect July 1. Yet it seems some public officials are trying to discourage people from even knowing about the new law.

Lisa Maragnano, Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority executive director: “We will comply with the law, we won’t encourage it.”

“The four biggest cities in Tennessee are now letting guns on their buses due to a new state law, but the change might not be obvious to riders from the vaguely worded rules posted by cities that opposed the law,” the Times Free Press recently reported.

“Transit policy changes in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga rely on riders to know beforehand, or at least look up on their own, who can carry a gun. Memphis officials are still changing the wording of their policy on guns on buses and in stations, but have started letting permit holders carry their guns.”

“To comply with the law…Nashville changed its transit system’s code of conduct, which had banned all weapons, to banning only those that are ‘unauthorized.’ No mention is made of the new law.”

In an email to the newspaper, Lisa Maragnano, Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority executive director, wrote, “We will comply with the law, we won’t encourage it.”

The bill that changed the law to allow carry on public transportation was sponsored by Rep. William Lamberth (R – 44th Dist.). “Under his law’s choices,” he said, “either metal detectors would assure people aren’t getting guns into the [bus] station, or people with permits would have guns to protect themselves in case of a shooting. The law also gives groups like the NRA standing to sue for triple attorney’s fees if they believe a local government wrongly barred someone from carrying guns.”

In a state with more than 6.6 million residents, only half a million Tennessee citizens had active concealed carry permits in 2015, The Tennessean reported— by Brian McCombie, Contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog