A Union City police officer says an open carry gun bill in Tennessee could potentially detriment public safety.
The bill would allow gun owners to openly carry their weapon in public without a permit. Tennessee is currently a licensed carry state, meaning non-prohibited citizens are permitted open carry status once they have been issued a permit or license.
UCPD Patrol Lt. Melvin Dowell said that if enacted, the bill could further increase public tension over firearms.
“Even now, when you see certain people in places with a permit, you’ve got people coming to us wanting us to check them," he said. "If you’ve got open carry with no permit, it just makes it bad for everybody.”
The measure would also eliminate state restrictions on where ammunition can be stored during transportation, and would allow firearms to be removed from vehicles on school property only when moving them to another part of the vehicle.
Dowell said he believes crime rates would rise if a large portion of the population were openly armed.
“We may as well go back to the 1800s and start riding horses again,” he said.
The bill, formally known as SB 2424, passed the Tennessee Senate in a 25-2 vote and now resides in the State House of Representatives.
Kentucky is a fully open carry state; a permit is not required. In Ilinois, open carry is prohibited in most areas.
A House vote is not expected to take place anytime soon, though the bill is written to take effect Sept. 1 if passed.