Carrying Handgun Without Permit Approved By Tennessee Senate

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Photo Credit: CC

Published March 19, 2021

The Center Square [By Jason Schaumburg] –

The Tennessee Senate passed legislation Thursday that would allow for the carrying of handguns in the state without a permit.

Senate Bill 765 would let a gun owner carry an open or concealed handgun without a permit if a gun owner met the qualifications for an enhanced handgun carry permit, lawfully possessed the handgun and was in a place the gun owners had a right to be. Gun owners would not be required to receive gun safety training to carry.

“Permitless carry simply allows a person to carry without permission from the state,” Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said Thursday in presenting the bill on the Senate floor.

The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee estimated the bill would result in a loss of about $2.6 million a year in handgun permit revenue for the state.

Before approving the bill, lawmakers adopted an amendment that makes it a Class B misdemeanor for a person to carry a handgun who has been convicted of stalking, aggravated stalking or especially aggravated stalking.

The amendment also makes it a Class B misdemeanor to carry if a person was convicted of two or more DUIs within the past 10 years or one within the past five years.

“I know we’ve heard a lot about our Second Amendment rights throughout this whole debate, but here’s what’s missing: that rights and responsibility go hand in hand,” Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, said. “No family member will be safer if people refuse gun training.”

The bill was opposed by most Tennessee law enforcement, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

TBI Senior Policy Adviser Jimmy Musice told the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month that TBI opposed the bill because it eliminates the permit process.

The bill also increases penalties on crimes committed with firearms, including increasing the punishment for theft of any firearm to a Class E felony regardless of the gun’s value.

The Senate passed the bill, 23-9. The Senate bill’s companion, House Bill 786, still is working its way through the committee process in the House.

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About the Author:

Jason Schaumburg, The Center Square Managing Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.

19 thoughts on “Carrying Handgun Without Permit Approved By Tennessee Senate

  • March 19, 2021 at 4:03 pm
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    I just purchased my first handgun and as a husband and granddad safety is first on my mind. I know & understand as a first time Gun owner I need personal training and practice. I will be getting the personal training soon. I have no current plans to want or need to carry a handgun, but if I did I would want the training and the permit to do so. Appears to me the law enforcement community does not approve as well. I would hope and pray it would not pass.

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    • March 29, 2021 at 10:19 am
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      Do you ask the govts permission for everything you do? Thats sad. YOU dont get to make choices for the rest of us though, thankfully.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2021 at 4:20 pm
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    Great news we should not have to pay for the right to protect ourselves or our loved ones

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  • March 19, 2021 at 4:24 pm
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    It’s not about loss revenue. Its about the rights of law abiding citizens of Tennessee and the United states. From what all other states have seen its Definitely not a problem for people to carry guns. It’s more of a problem that more dishonest people carry. I think Tennessee and all states should be able too and all have same regulations so everyone knows exactly what the rules are. Let’s work on getting that next. After we get our rights back. God bless America and the people who stand up for our constitution.

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    • March 19, 2021 at 9:20 pm
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      What about people that have already paid for a lifetime permit, like myself? Screwed again.

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      • March 23, 2021 at 10:02 am
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        Exactly. Do we get a refund? I do not have a lifetime permit but it’s good til 2028.

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  • March 19, 2021 at 5:19 pm
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    I was born in Tennessee moved away at 17 to Indiana and got a life time permit that was 75.00 dollars it cost way to much for a life time permit in Tennessee I hope this bill passes I’m not opposed to training it shouldn’t cost so much and maybe more people would get it, there’s bad people in this world and we should have the right to at least to try to defend ourselves this bill is needed

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  • March 19, 2021 at 8:56 pm
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    This is bill is BS. I’ve been through Gun training to get my permit to carry. In this class we had people like my self that knew how to shoot and handle a pistol. But there was some that didn’t know or had never handle a gun. They did not know even how to load a gun. So these will be the same people that go out and get a gun to protect them and end shooting them or an innocent person. I know it can happen to anyone know matter what training you’ve been through. But I think you need basic training to carry. You should want training to carry.

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    • March 23, 2021 at 10:07 am
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      Are you kidding? I took the state approved training course when I first obtained my permit in 2006. Not only are you 100% correct on there being folks who have no idea how to carry, load/unload, clean and aim a firearm but I who had the training like 15 years ago, would very much like a refresher course. I learned a lot but I am 62 now and have forgotten much of it. Should be mandatory to be able to carry permit or no permit and should be free or very cheap.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2021 at 10:35 pm
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    Revenue will not be bothered. Like myself most people with a permit will keep it for carrying in states that honor Tennessee permit.

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  • March 19, 2021 at 11:40 pm
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    As much as I am all for the 2nd Amendment, I am against carrying a gun without a permit. I am a gun owner and I have a permit to carry. I had to pass a written test and a shooting test. I feel like that is the way it should be.

    Reply
  • March 20, 2021 at 9:01 pm
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    I am not against getting a permit but with that said I am against having to stand in a 4 to 5 hour line at the driver license bureau to get the permit. The license bureau’s in the state of TN are a damn nightmare. We need to have a 100 more stations throughout the state and a 100 more staff members on duty at each station. So all said I am for the passage of this bill just for this reason.

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  • March 21, 2021 at 2:16 am
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    I have a permit to carry concealed. I believe anyone who carries should be required to take a gun course. This isn’t infringing on our rights. It’s only making it safe to carry.
    Everyone doesn’t know gun safety. Their life is in their own hands.

    Reply
  • March 22, 2021 at 2:07 am
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    I believe that Tennessee should be a Gun Ownership Sanctuary State.

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    • March 23, 2021 at 10:01 am
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      Several counties already are. Ours is one of them thanks to our Conservative, gun owning County Mayor.

      Sadly however, although I am a firm believer in 2nd amendment rights, I must agree with the TBI and other law enforcement here. I am proud of my permit. I feel it separates me from those who might do others harm not necessarily intentionally but due to improper handling of the firearm. The safety training course I took taught me a lot but that was like 14 years ago. I would really like a refresher. I think if state approved training and either fingerprinting or a DNA sample were part of the requirements I would feel much better about permitless carry. Just my 2 cents.

      Reply
  • March 22, 2021 at 7:44 pm
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    I moved here from bama we have open carry we are taught from young age about gun safety criminals dont care about laws or being safe only law abiding citizens do so this will not change how citizens act with weapons ..it will only change criminal though about making someone a victim..because they wont attack a known armed person because criminals are cowards…you have just made your citizens not only more safe but also made criminals gain a fear of them…

    Reply
  • March 23, 2021 at 9:59 am
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    Sadly, although I am a firm believer in 2nd amendment rights, I must agree with the TBI and other law enforcement here. I am proud of my permit. I feel it separates me from those who might do others harm not necessarily intentionally but due to improper handling of the firearm. The safety training course I took taught me a lot but that was like 14 years ago. I would really like a refresher. I think if state approved training and either fingerprinting or a DNA sample were part of the requirements I would feel much better about permitless carry. Just my 2 cents.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2021 at 10:02 am
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    Exactly. Do we get a refund? I do not have a lifetime permit but it’s good til 2028.

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    • March 23, 2021 at 11:22 pm
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      I took a safety test twice. Once in Massachusetts and one in Connecticut. Believe it or not, it’s cheaper to get it in northern states where they have insane laws in the first place. I for instance do not need to go through this again and not willing to pay insane price in Tennessee. I think that people who never went through training should take it but people who did take it should not go through this BS again.
      Also, if you go by construction the government is already too far in our business and our pockets.

      Reply

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