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Politics

TN Politics: Porch Pirates, Drag Racers and Gun Fighters -- This Law's for You!

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Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM
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The Tennessee State Capitol Building

A panoply of new Tennessee state laws took effect on July 1. Political analyst Otis Sanford says that while some are meaningful and timely, others are merely political grandstanding.

A number of new laws focus on protecting children or increasing jail terms for those who harm them. Other laws were designed to make guns easier to obtain and carry, while increasing penalties for people who steal them.

While Sanford says that gun proliferation will likely have violent consequences for urban areas, especially Memphis, a series of other new laws appear to address other negative trends in the city: package theft, drag racing, shooting guns out of cars and catalytic converter theft.

Local lawmakers likely welcome these stronger deterrents to rising crime. But other "cultural" laws didn't go over so well, such as banning the teaching of systemic racism in public education. Sanford calls that one of the legislature's "knuckleheaded decisions" in 2021.