Is Tennessee's Permitless Carry a Good Idea, Has Too Many Restrictions, or Does Not Go Far Enough?

Tennessee's Governor Bill Lee proposed new legislation that would allow gun owners to carry firearms without a permit. The proposed bill would allow for both concealed carry and open carry with or without a license. However, firearm owners would still need to obtain their guns legally after passing a background check and completing a handgun safety course. Firearm owners can access the 90-minute class online. People aged 21 and above would benefit from this new legislation while military members aged 18 to 20 would also be able to carry without a permit.


However, Democrats are already opposing the proposed legislation. Democratic Sen. Raumesh Akbari said that permitless carry endangers the lives of Tennesseans, a claim dismissed by John Harris, the executive director of Tennessee Firearms Association. Harris noted that there was no evidence to prove that having a purchased firearm carry license improves the security of any state. If passed, the law would allow Tennessee to join the list of 16 other constitutional carry states.


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Despite the Dems’ opposition, the law would improve the security by imposing stricter penalties for theft, illegal acquisition and use of firearms. The proposal would also make stealing a gun a felony. Current Tennessee legislation categorizes this crime as a misdemeanor and violators face a 30-day prison sentence. If the bill passes, penalties for stealing a firearm will increase from the current 30 days to six months in prison. Similarly, providing a handgun to a minor and possession of weapons by a felon will be a crime.


Public spaces like parks and restricted areas such as schools and government buildings would be exempt from the permitless carry law. Businesses can also ban citizens from bearing weapons in their buildings by posting signs. Similarly, individuals with felony convictions, protection orders, and domestic abuse convictions will not benefit from the new legislation. Do you think this proposal is a good idea, has many restrictions, or do you feel that it does not go far enough?

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.


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