With certain exceptions discussed below, this bill prohibits a business entity or owner, manager or legal possessor of real property, or public or private employer from establishing, maintaining, or enforcing a policy or rule that prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting a person's transportation or storage of a firearm or ammunition when:
(1) The firearm or ammunition: is kept from ordinary observation within the person's attended, privately-owned motor vehicle; or is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person's privately owned motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to such vehicle; and
(2) The vehicle is operated or parked in a location where it is otherwise permitted to be.
Under this bill, a person who is injured or incurs damages, or the survivors of a person killed, as a result of a violation of the above provisions may bring a civil action in the appropriate court against any business entity, or owner, manager, or legal possessor of real property, or public or private employer who committed or caused such violation. A person who is denied the opportunity to transport or store a firearm or ammunition by a policy or rule prohibited by this bill may bring a civil action in the appropriate court to enjoin any business entity, or owner, manager, or legal possessor of real property, or public or private employer from violating the above-described provisions. In any actions brought pursuant to this bill, court costs and attorney's fees will be awarded to the prevailing plaintiff.
An employee discharged by a public or private employer for a violation of a policy or rule prohibited by this bill would be entitled to full recovery as specified below. If demand for the recovery has not been satisfied within 45 calendar days, the employee may bring a civil action in the circuit court of this state against the public or private employer and is entitled to the following:
(1) Reinstatement to the same position held at the time of the employee's termination from employment, or to an equivalent position;
(2) Reinstatement of the employee's full fringe benefits and seniority rights, as appropriate;
(3) Compensation, if applicable, for lost wages, benefits, or other lost remuneration caused by the termination; and
(4) Payment of reasonable attorney's fees and legal costs incurred.
No business entity, or owner, manager, or legal possessor of real property, or public or private employer will be held liable in any civil action for damages, injuries, or death resulting from or arising out of another person's actions involving a firearm or ammunition transported or stored pursuant to this bill, including, but not limited to, the theft of a firearm from an employee's or invitee's automobile, unless the business entity, or owner, manager, or legal possessor of real property, or public or private employer intentionally solicited or procured such other person's injurious actions.
This bill will not apply if:
(1) The person operating the motor vehicle is prohibited from possessing, receiving, or transporting firearms under state or federal law or by any court order, including specific state statutes regarding the unlawful possession of a weapon and possessing a handgun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
(2) The motor vehicle is located in any place where firearms are expressly prohibited by federal law.
It should be noted that generally under present law, a person may only carry a handgun if the person has a handgun carry permit. It is not clear to the author of this summary whether this bill is addressing only handgun carry permit holders.
Under present law, there is a exemption to the prohibition on carrying a weapon on public park, playground, civic center or other government-owned recreational facility for a person entering the property for the sole purpose of delivering or picking up passengers and who does not remove any weapon from the vehicle or utilize it in any manner. This bill removes this exemption.
Generally, present law (TCA section 39-17-1309)prohibits the possession or carrying of a firearm on school property. Present law provides that this prohibition does not apply to a nonstudent adult who possesses a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by the adult, or by any other person acting with the expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property; this bill removes this provision.
It should be noted that another present law provision (TCA section 49-6-3401) prohibits the possession of a firearm by a student on school property; such a law is required by federal law under the Gun-Free Schools Act. That Act has an exemption for a firearm that is lawfully stored inside a locked vehicle on school property,
Also, under the federal Gun Free School Zone Act it is generally a federal crime to knowingly bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a school. Federal law does contain certain exceptions, one being that the prohibition does not apply of the person is lawfully licensed to carry a firearm under the law of the state where the school is located. Another exemption is for a unloaded firearm in a locked container or locked gun rack.