The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –
A Memphis Democrat is pushing for handgun carry permits to be required in Tennessee’s highest populated areas.
Senator London Lamar (D-Memphis-District 33) has filed Senate Bill 0010 (SB0010) that in summary, seeks to require a person to obtain an enhanced or concealed handgun permit to carry a handgun in certain counties.
The legislation seeks to bypass Tennessee’s permitless carry law by requiring permits of individuals wishing to carry firearms in cities with a population of 500,000 or more and/or entire counties if the population is 900,000 or more.
2021 Census Data Puts Memphis and Shelby County well over the mark at 924,454 with Nashville – Davidson County following at 703,953.
The legislation goes on to state that a permit-carrier must be at least 21 years of age or is:
18 years of age or older and is honorably discharged or retired veteran of the United States armed forces; is an honorably discharged member of the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve, who has successfully completed a basic training program; or is a member of the United States armed forces on active duty status or is a current member of the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve, who has successfully completed a basic training program.
On Wednesday, June 2, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed permitless carry into law.
The law, incorrectly called “constitutional carry”, made it legal for Tennesseans 21 and over to carry an open or concealed handgun without needing a permit. Military members only have to be 18 or older.
The legislation was a key priority in the Governor’s public safety package last year. The law stiffened penalties for illegal gun crime and allocated additional resources for gun safety training.
Since it was first introduced, the permitless carry legislation was lobbied against by Democrats, gun violence prevention organizations and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association.
Democrats and the others claimed the Permitless Carry Law would lead to a spike in gun violence.
However, John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association, released a statement debunking those claims.
“Tennessee Firearms Association does not believe that the Governor’s new permitless carry law, which is only a qualified exception to a criminal charge of carrying a firearm with the intent to go armed, will cause any material increase in the illegal use of weapons to commit violent crimes in Tennessee. Claims that allowing citizens to carry firearms have been a common prophecy from gun control advocates since at least 1994 when that type of law was first enacted in Tennessee. However, the claim has never materialized nor has it been verified with actual statistical data showing a true correlation.
“In addition, Tennessee is not the first state to adopt a permitless carry system. Many other states have adopted stronger permitless carry laws. Crime data from states that have enacted permitless carry laws in the past do not support the assertion that allowing citizens to carry firearms without permits results in increased criminal violence. To the contrary, some studies show that violent crime decreases as the number of citizens lawfully carrying firearms increases. That is consistent with national crime data that shows that significant levels of violent crime occurring in those major metropolitan areas that have the strictest laws infringing civilian access to firearms, such as Chicago and New York.
Tennessee Firearms Association believes that when citizens are armed they are better able to defend themselves, their families and their properties from criminals and the crime data supports that conclusion.”
Upon the publication of this article, Lamar’s bill does not yet have a sponsor in the House. However, If her legislation passes the legislature and is signed into law, it will go into effect on July 1st, 2023.
About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career. Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others. He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History. Contact Jason at news@TennesseeConservativeNews.com