GETTING A CARRY PERMIT
In Tennessee, a handgun safety course is required before approving an application to carry a weapon on your person. That course comes with fingerprinting, a thorough background check and $115. Permits are good for four years and can be renewed for $50. There is no permit required to own a gun in Tennessee. In Georgia, gun permits are issued by county probate courts and allow for weapons to be concealed or carried on a person. The cost of the permit varies by county, but there is a $26 GBI fingerprint fee. Other nominal fees may apply. The permits are good for five years.
Sources: Tennessee Department of Safety, www.georgiapacking.org
Two hundred Tennesseans who have permits to carry loaded weapons may have their privileges revoked or suspended because they have active restraining orders against them, officials say.
That’s after Department of Safety officials learned they had not revoked permits, as required by federal law, from some people served with an order of protection — commonly referred to as a restraining order, said Mike Browning, Tennessee Department of Safety spokesman.
“Some counties had not been informing us of orders of protection,” Mr. Browning said. “It came to our attention that some people who had orders of protection (against them) still had carry permits, and that’s not allowed under the law.”
Often such orders are given to protect spouses in abusive relationships. Carry permits in Tennessee allow holders who pass a background check to carry unconcealed loaded weapons on their persons or in their vehicles. The Department of Safety was alerted to the oversight by a Nashville television station, Mr. Browning said.
Since then, the department has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to notify it monthly of temporary and permanent orders of protection. Henceforth, TBI will report the information monthly, a spokeswoman said.
“We are not required to do this. However, we wanted to cooperate the best we can,” Kristin Helm said. “TBI is the central repository of information like this, and it’s fairly simple to generate a list for the Department of Safety rather than depending on every local law enforcement agency and clerk’s office to notify them.”
During the TBI’s first sweep in November, the agency sent all the state’s 13,000 current temporary and permanent orders of protection to the Department of Safety for review. Mr. Browning said the department first electronically compared the list with its database of carry permit holders. From there, the department whittled the list to around 200 potential violations. Once verified, the Department of Safety will issue letters to inform those permit holders they no longer have the right to carry a loaded weapon. Once the order of protection is lifted, if the permit holder does not have a felony conviction, they can get their permit back, Mr. Browning said.
One Chattanooga domestic violence advocate said the oversight was a concern.
“We do know there is a direct correlation between having weapons available in the home and lethality,” said Charlotte Boatwright, president of the Coalition Against Domestic and Community Violence of Greater Chattanooga. “If someone has the tendency to be violent against their partner, then there is an increased likelihood of an event.”
Adam Crisp covers education issues for the Times Free Press. He joined the paper's staff in 2007 and initially covered crime, public safety, courts and general assignment topics. Prior to Chattanooga, Crisp was a crime reporter at the Savannah Morning News and has been a reporter and editor at community newspapers in southeast Georgia. In college, he led his student paper to a first-place general excellence award from the Georgia College Press Association. He earned ...