Another state’s legislature has passed Constitutional Carry, this time in the Volunteer State. Tennessee’s House passed the bill late in the evening last night by a vote of 64 to 29. Just ten days ago, the bill passed the Senate after the bill came roaring back to life in the 2021 session.
We reported earlier this year that the bill stood a good chance of passing — after all, Republican Governor Bill Lee filed a Constitutional Carry bill, himself, back in the 2019/2020 legislative session but that session was cut short for the Corona scare.
It’s a little early to count their chickens before they hatch, but Tennessee’s gun owners aren’t off base to think that Gov. Lee will sign the bill.
What’s In The Bill
According to the Tennessean,
The law, which will take effect July 1, allows for both open and concealed carrying of handguns for people 21 and older without a permit as well as for military members ages 18 to 20. It does not apply to long guns, a point of contention among gun rights activists.
This legislation allow any law-abiding citizen over the age of 21 who is otherwise legally eligible to get a carry permit, to carry a handgun without getting a government permission slip, first. After 2020, when gun owners in dozens of states were left waiting months to get their piece of paper because of delays due to Corona, gun owners were not willing to risk their safety any longer.
Of course, as is typical of other states with Constitutional Carry, this legislation doesn’t do away with the permit for those who with to get one in order to have reciprocity with other states.
Areas For Expansion Remain
This legislation isn’t as ‘complete’ as it could be for two reasons. Firstly, the new law would only allow Tennesseans over the age of 21 to exercise the right to carry. This leaves 18, 19, and 20 year old citizens — we’re thinking specifically of young women — unable to carry a weapon.
Also, the new law will not apply to carrying long guns. Still, the Republican-controlled legislature made it clear that those things will likely be added in time.
The Tennessean continued:
“This bill is not the end of the journey,” House Majority Leader William Lamberth, R-Portland, said from the floor Monday evening, confirming an appetite remains in the GOP-controlled legislature to remove more gun restrictions in the future. “This is a massive step forward for freedom.”
We’ve seen this sort of ‘graduated’ Constitutional Carry before in the state of Idaho. We have reported that the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance, headed up by Greg Pruett, had successfully pushed to expand their Constitutional Carry bill this way — and were successful even in the crazy year that was 2020!
Waiting On The Governor
Tennessee joins the state of Iowa in waiting on their Republican governor to sign Constitutional Carry into law. We reported on March 22nd when Iowa’s Senate passed the ground-breaking legislation in that state, sending the bill to the desk of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds.
We have high hopes for Tennesseans — but it’s obvious that Iowa’s Governor is dragging her feet. Gun owners in both states need to keep up the pressure on their governors until they get the job DONE!