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A Tale of Three Tennessee Bills – The Case for Constitutional Carry

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Article first appeared on Ammoland.com

New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)-  On a growing list that has been exploding as of late, Tennessee aims to be the next state to enter to fold of Constitutional Carry.  To date, there are three bills that wish to achieve the same thing, allow those that are lawfully allowed to purchase a firearm to carry one without first obtaining a permit.

The bills that have been introduced are SB 0318/HB 0018SB 0765/HB 0786, and SB 1391/HB 1388.  The finer details of each of these bills need to have particular attention paid.

Right now, the forerunner is SB 765 and dubbed as “the Governor’s” bill, with Governor Bill Lee showing strong support for its passage.

Through a tip sent to AmmoLand News, SB 765 may not be all that it is cracked up to be.  In addition to a good amount of “pork” being injected into the bill, the text of the legislation will only apply to handguns as statutorily defined by Tennessee law.  According to current TN law, a handgun is “any firearm with a barrel length of less than twelve inches (12″) that is designed, made or adapted to be fired with one (1) hand”.  For those TN residents that wish to carry a long gun or a pistol that has a barrel over 12”, this could be problematic.  Other scrutiny over the bill involves excluding those under the age of 21 from being covered by the exemption who would otherwise be able to lawfully own the firearm.  Most of the additional changes involve an overhaul of criminal statutes.

SB 1391 works to remove penalties for not having a permit to carry when in possession of a firearm should they lawfully be able to purchase one.  But also overhauls more of the criminal statutes.

And finally, SB 319 is more broad in injecting exemptions should a person carrying a firearm not have a permit to carry and they meet the statutory requirements to possess a firearm.  There is seemingly no pork added to the provisions of this bill.

None of the bills are as crisp as the Constitutional Carry Bill that was recently signed into law in Utah.  However, these are all solid steps in the right direction.

Constitutional Carry?

Going forward, what bill may or may not gain the most traction has yet to be seen.  With SB 765 having strong support by Governor Lee, it’s quite possible this is the bill that becomes law in the Volunteer State.  Citizens in Tennessee should review all the three proposed bills themselves and contact their lawmakers on which one they feel should get the most traction.  At the end of the day, should SB 765 become law, it will not be the end of the world, but a very large step in the right direction to making TN a true constitutional carry state.  In every and any event should any of these bills be signed into law, those carrying a firearm in the state of TN need to review the changes to make sure they are not going afoul of the new rules.


John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .

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