Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed constitutional carry legislation into law, which will allow most adults in the state to carry handguns without a permit.
“I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights,” Lee announced in a tweet on Thursday afternoon, April 8.
“Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done,” Lee wrote, referring to the support from the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the bill.
I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done. pic.twitter.com/xv2ZenOEZq
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 8, 2021
The law, which will take effect on July 1, allows the Tennesseans 21 and older to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit, the Tennessean reported. It also allows members of the military aged 18 to 20 to carry handguns without a permit.
The new law, which does not apply to long guns, will remove misdemeanor offenses for most people carrying a handgun without a permit, but increase punishments for other gun crimes.
While the NRA backs the law, the state’s leading law enforcement groups opposed it, arguing the bill could potentially increase crime and officer vulnerability.
When the bill passed the House in late March, the state’s Majority Leader William Lamberth (R) said it was “not the end of the journey” to expand gun rights in Tennessee. However, Democrat Rep. Larry Miller said that “It seems that more is never enough when it comes to gun laws in this state.”
With the new law, Tennessee has become the 19th state to permit gun carry.
Last week, Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds also signed a similar bill to allow its citizens to buy and carry handguns without a permit. That law will also go into effect on July 1.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced a series of executive steps that he claimed would end gun violence in America.