Permitless Carry Bill Advancing Through Tennessee General Assembly

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Proposed legislation backed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee to allow state residents to carry handguns without a permit is moving through the Tennessee General Assembly according to WKRN Nashville. Under current law, gun owners must take a class before obtaining a handgun carry permit.

The “Constitutional Carry” bill would allow “Tennesseans ages 21 and older” (plus members of the military ages 18 to 20) to open and conceal carry a gun without a permit.”

According to The Tennessean, this bill “also increases punishments for certain gun crimes, such as boosting theft of a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony and mandating six months of incarceration for the offense, up from the current 30-day sentence.”

It would also “prohibit those convicted of stalking or [those with] two instances of driving under the influence from carrying a firearm, in addition to those who have been committed by the court to a mental institution.”

House Republican Majority Leader William Lamberth told WKRN, “We are adding penalties and increasing the penalties dramatically for anyone that steals a gun, anyone that’s using a gun improperly, felons in possession of guns.”

“We’re trying to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and keep them in the hands of the good guys,” said Lamberth. “I can guarantee you we are making Tennessee a safer place tomorrow than it is today.”

With a Republican governor and GOP control in both chambers of the legislature, the bill is likely to pass.

Needless to say, this has gun control advocates apoplectic. But there are quite a few others who aren’t happy about it either and this includes the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, which opposes it.

Nashville resident Brett Marker told WKRN, “There should be some sort of regulation. I’m not saying that you should just take guns away, but there should be some sort of oversight.”

“Democrats aren’t against guns; we’re not trying to take guns away from anyone. We just want to make sure that people that have guns…they have been trained on them and they know how to use them responsibly,” House Democratic caucus leader Vincent Dixie said.

Dixie added, “If the bill does pass I encourage my constituents to go get your gun — that’s what I encourage you to do — everyone needs to have a gun.”

Elizabeth is the founder and editor of The American Crisis. She is also a contract writer at The Western Journal and a previous contributor to RedState, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have appeared on HotAir, Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN and other sites. Elizabeth is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother!