Gun rights groups sent a big message to state lawmakers in Thursday's primary elections: pass the gun bills, or else.
After spending thousands of dollars and succeeding in defeating Debra Maggart, they are now ready to focus on a few key bills in the state legislature.
Second Amendment rights groups said Maggart's position on the guns in trunks bill led to her defeat Thursday by Courtney Rogers.
"It's one of the principal factors in why we were able to get so many people to step up and donate money and volunteer to defeat Maggart," said John Harris, with the Tennessee Firearms Association.
By putting their money where their mouth is, and getting the votes to back them up, the goal was to send a message to incumbent Republicans not to take gun rights groups for granted.
"It was specifically intended as a message not only to House leaders and Senate leaders, but also to rank and file members, that conservatives are serious about demanding accountability in representation," Harris said.
Moving forward, Tennesseans can expect to see the guns in trunks bill, which prohibits businesses from banning guns in employees' cars, to make a comeback in the next session. Also, gun rights groups want to end the ability for local communities to opt out of the guns in parks law.
The end game is to repeal carry permits entirely.
"(It's) at the very top of our list, ultimately, and we've just got to time when we bring this forward - adopting the concept of constitutional carry in Tennessee, which more states are doing," Harris said.
But legislative leaders said the National Rifle Association won't have any more influence than usual.
"I don't think the NRA will have any more influence then they have in the past. There are some members that are quite frankly very angry with how they conducted themselves," said House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville.
Harris said he expects the leadership to come forward with their own version of the guns in trucks law this year.
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