Tag Archives: lying

Legislature Votes to Make Lying About Military Service a Crime

False claims of military service could lead to a $500 fine or six months in jail under legislation sent to Gov. Bill Haslam for his signature by a Monday night state Senate vote.
The Senate vote on HB2491 was 33-0 with Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, as sponsor and virtually no debate. The House had approved earlier with a vote of 93-2 with Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, as sponsor.
“Apparently, there were some people putting on their tombstones that they were World War II or Vietnam veterans,” Massey told colleagues in a brief Senate floor discussion.
Dunn said earlier that a woman constituent, who he declined to identify, had seen the tombstones bearing claims of military service that she knew were bogus.Her concerns inspired him to file the bill, Dunn said.
Dunn said he considered any false claim of military service to be a “theft of valor” and there should be a penalty.
The bill exempts people wearing military uniforms in parades, acting performances or for educational purposes. The sponsors noted there’s already a state law that makes it illegal to wear military medals that were not earned in military service and said the new law will basically broaden the existing statute.
Rep. Mike Kernell, D-Memphis, one of the two representative who voted against the bill, said he thought the measure went too far and wondered whether the new law would be enforced against, for example, against teenagers wearing an Army surplus hat. Dunn said that the prosecution would require actual intent to deceive others about military service and such a situation would not meet the standard.