CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Constitutional Carry or Permitless bill means the majority of law abiding citizens over 21 in Tennessee won’t need a permit to tote a handgun open or concealed.
Tennessee State Senator Todd Gardenhire, (R-Chattanooga), voted in favor of it on Thursday when the bill passed the Tennessee Senate.
“I would encourage people to take the training that they want to take, but that’s their right not to do that. Their right is to be able to carry a pistol for protection, a handgun,” Senator Gardenhire said.
The passed bill restricts some including people who have had a DUI in the last 5 years or 2 in 10 years.
But, not everyone is for permitless carry.
“Nobody wants the permitting system to change. The permitting system works. It keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Look, one law can’t stop all crime, but if it can stop some of the crime then it’s worth having,” Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense East TN Group Lead Jodi Scheer said.
Tennessee State Director for the NRA Matt Herriman said the legislation is a great step for advancing second amendment rights.
“I’ll say this, there’s been a lot of talk about the permit system. There’s been a lot of talk about, you know, sky is falling, wild wild west. The permit system does not keep bad actors from doing bad things, and so, whether this legislation passes or not, this is not going to change the way criminals behave,” Herriman said.
Senator Gardenhire said a second part of the bill ups penalties for some gun crimes.
“We put pretty strong penalties on somebody who steals a gun, somebody who uses a gun in a crime and somebody who assaults somebody with a gun,” he said.
The bill has passed the Senate, it still needs to pass the House.