Tennessee has become the latest state to soon allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns without first clearing a background check and training after Gov. Bill Lee signed the legislation into law.
“Proud to be at @Beretta_USAto sign our constitutional carry bill today. This legislation is a win for law-abiding Tennesseans, public safety, & #2A rights. Constitutional carry is long overdue in our state, & I’m grateful for our partners in the General Assembly,” said Governor Lee in a tweet.
Proud to be at @Beretta_USA to sign our constitutional carry bill today. This legislation is a win for law-abiding Tennesseans, public safety, & #2A rights. Constitutional carry is long overdue in our state, & I'm grateful for our partners in the General Assembly. pic.twitter.com/M053PjBcSy
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) June 2, 2021
The measure applies to handguns that are concealed and ones that are openly carried, but it does not apply to long guns. The law will take effect July 1.
Under the new law, adults 21 and older and military members between 18 and 20 will be allowed to open or concealed carry handguns without a permit. The law also increases certain penalties. For example, theft of a firearm — now a misdemeanor that carries a 30-day sentence — will become a felony with a mandatory six month incarceration. It also makes exceptions for people with certain mental illnesses and criminal convictions.
Gov. Bill Lee proposed legislation to advance the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Tennesseans by implementing a Constitutional Carry law in February.
“The Second Amendment is clear and concise and secures the freedoms of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” said Gov. Bill Lee.
The governor’s legislation extends the constitutional right to carry a handgun to all law-abiding citizens with or without a permit who are 21 and older, except in current restricted areas.
The legislation also includes several increased penalties for firearm-related crime to promote public safety including:
Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a felony;
Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
Increasing the minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days;
Increasing the sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.
“A big part of protecting the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens is cracking down on criminals who use guns. We will make sure those who commit crimes with firearms serve their full sentences and nothing less. Many states across the nation are moving towards permitless carry and I support the governor in this initiative,” said Lt. Governor Randy McNally.
“This legislation ensures that law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to carry their handgun, but if you are a violent criminal, felon or drug dealer, there will be no tolerance for unlawful gun possession here in Tennessee,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton.