NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Bills that would allow people in Tennessee to carry a gun without permit are moving through both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly.
Legislation being pushed by Governor Bill Lee under the ‘Constitutional Carry’ title will reportedly let Tennesseans ages 21 and older open and conceal carry a gun without a permit.
Some law enforcement leaders are in opposition to the efforts, including the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association.
Tennessee law currently requires people to take a class before they can get a handgun carry permit.
Tennesseans on both sides of the issue have shared opinions.
“There should be some sort of regulation,” Nashville resident Brett Marker said. “I’m not saying that you should just take guns away, but there should be some sort of oversight.”
Tennessee tourists in the state are also weighing in on the debate.
“I think it should be a nationwide policy. I don’t think the government should be allowed to control people’s right to defend themselves,” said Scott Larson, a Northern California tourist.
Republicans say the bill allows for more Second Amendment freedoms while also punishing people who misuse firearms.
“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,” Lamberth said.
Democrats say safe guards in the bills are not being offered.
“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.
Republicans claim opponents of the bill are using unproven scare tactics.
“We’re trying to keep guns out of the hands of bad guys and keep them in the hands of the good guys,” Lamberth said.
With the Republican supermajority, it is likely the a permitless carry bill will become law.
“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,” Dixie said.
The bill also allows military members ages 18 to 20 to carry without having a permit.