|Knox County Commission|
The move, which was spearheaded by Knox County Clerk Foster Arnett Jr., comes as a thrice convicted drug dealer who was also convicted of murder sought a license. Arnett declined to give him one, but the county's law department said he couldn't refuse.
Arnett then appealed to the commission to pass legislation.
"I think part of government's responsibility is to protect its citizens and I'm not giving someone with that background a license to go door to door," Arnett said. "I don't think it's right. I'm not saying anything bad about this guy, but he's been convicted of serious crimes."
Commissioner Mike Brown agreed.
"It's hard to draw a line in the middle when you're talking about crime," he said. "We have the responsibility of protecting those citizens just as much as (the sheriff and police chief) do."
Commission passed the measure in a 10-1 vote, with member Sam McKenzie dissenting.
The ordinance, which must be approved again next month on a second reading before it becomes official, also gives the clerk permission to revoke a license if it is discovered that there is an outstanding warrant against a license holder or a license holder has been convicted of a crime of moral turpitude within the past 10 years.
State law defines moral turpitude as an offense that contains "elements of fraud, theft, intent to cause great bodily harm, and sometimes lewdness, recklessness or malice."
McKenzie said he was concerned that 10 years was too long a time for some of the crimes.
"We're talking about perjury being equated with murder and that's not the same," he added.
The door-to-door permit costs $55 per month.