The restoration of the right to bear arms continues in Tennessee. Laws originally intended to keep slaves disarmed were altered after the Civil War, to keep freed slaves disarmed. Those laws ran up against the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and had to be altered to apply to everyone. Except they didn't. The authorities routinely used the law to disarm black people, but did not apply to laws to the vast majority of white people.
That started changing with the change in the power structure from the 1960's on. More and more places began applying the gun bans to most people. That enforcement change sparked a reform movement to restore carry rights.
By the late 1980's, the reform movement to restore carry rights had started sweeping the nation, with “shall issue” concealed carry laws, so that any non-felon could obtain a permit to carry. The reforms often left a sprinkling of localized carry bans in place. Gradually those bans are being removed. In Tennessee, in 2015, the legislature removed the ability of local governments to enforce most of the local gun bans.
Liston Matthews has a good history of these reforms, and details on the current lawsuit.
In Knoxville, a local ban has persisted at Chilhowee park, where the state fair is held. That ban is being challenged in court. The challenge has just passed one of the first hurdles in striking down the ban. The Court ruled that one of the plaintiffs has standing to proceed with the lawsuit. From knoxnews.com:
A lawsuit contesting the city of Knoxville's ban on guns at Chilhowee Park has withstood a challenge for dismissal and will live to face another hearing.
Knox County Chancellor John Weaver on Oct. 3 found merit in the city's argument that one of the two people who challenged the gun ban did not have standing to file the lawsuit. But Weaver ruled the second person involved in the action had standing.
This is how activists incrementally restore the right to bear arms. It is happening all over the country.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.