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What Does the New Permitless Handgun Bill Mean for TN?

Tennessee has a new law on the books that will no longer require handgun owners to obtain a permit, but it is not without controversy.

It was in early April when Governor Bill Lee signed a new law that allows adults over the age of 21 to carry a firearm, whether it is an open carry or concealed, without a background check or proper training. The new law will take effect in July of 2021 and while the issue has been surrounded in controversy, it is important that everyone in Tennessee knows how it will affect them.

What Does the Bill Include?

The signing of the new bill places Tennessee among the 19 states that do not require individuals to obtain a permit to carry a gun. After signing the bill, Governor Lee said he did so to strengthen the Second Amendment rights of lawful gun owners in the state. Most of the Republicans in the state supported the bill, although a handful did not. There was not one Democrat in the state legislature that supported the bill. Not only does the law eliminate penalties for individuals that carry a gun without a permit, but it also removes the requirements for gun training and background checks.

Critics of the Bill

The bill was not passed without many law enforcement groups speaking out publicly against it. These groups included the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. Glenn Funk, Nashville’s District Attorney, also criticized the bill.

Critics of the bill largely pointed to the gun violence that has been increasing at a rapid pace around the country as the reason no state should make it easier for anyone to own a gun. The law enforcement groups that opposed the bill said it would make it even more difficult to determine which individuals were lawfully carrying a gun, and who was carrying a firearm unlawfully.

Supporters of the Bill

The Governor, along with other Republicans that supported the bill, stated the constitutional carry law would not increase gun violence in the state. This is largely due to the fact that the bill included harsher penalties for individuals who committed firearm offenses. Theft of a firearm is just one criminal offense that will result in harsher consequences as a result of the bill.

Certain individuals are also considered ineligible for carrying a gun without a permit under the new law. This includes anyone that has a recent conviction for a stalking-related offense or a DUI, or anyone that has been admitted to a mental institution in the past.

Call My Tennessee Criminal Defense Law Firm if You are Facing Charges

The law that will go into effect this summer is certainly not without controversy, and while it will allow more people to avoid facing charges, others will face even harsher consequences. If you have been charged with a firearm offense, I am the Franklin criminal defense lawyer that can help you beat the charges. I am Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law, and I have over 30 years of experience helping individuals retain their freedom. Call me today at 615-791-8511 or contact me online to schedule a consultation so I can review your case.