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What to Know about the TN Permit-less Handgun Bill

Gun ownership is an important civil liberty and freedom in Murfreesboro, TN. However, all rights and freedoms should be tempered with responsibilities to avoid abuse. On March 19, 2021, Republican lawmakers in Tennessee used their majority in the Senate to pass a new law. They voted 23-9 and allowed any qualified individual above age 21 and any Tennessee military member over age 18 to own and carry a handgun without any training or permit.

Senators Sen. Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Rep. William Lamberth (R-Portland) introduced the SB 0765/HB 0786 bill. Here’s what the bill partially says:

"Any person at least 21 years old or at least 18 years old and is a member of or honorably discharged or retired from the United States Armed Forces or any National Guard or Reserves is exempt from the offense of open or concealed carrying of a firearm with the intent to go armed if legally in possession and not prohibited from carrying a firearm.”

Changing gun laws can be confusing for individuals, and mistakes can lead to arrests and possible criminal charges for firearms violations. Speak with a Murfreesboro criminal defense attorney if you have a case.

What Critics Say About the New Law

While the bill had enough support to pass, it has also met many criticisms from various groups. The legislation allows people to own guns without proper training or undergoing background checks. This trend could give irresponsible gun owners the ability to carry firearms throughout the state without the need for licensing. Some believe this might result in a surge in gun-related crimes. Critics also say the law grossly compromises the safety of Tennesseans and law enforcement.

Additionally, some law enforcement leaders like the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association oppose the legislation. The current law requires all private gun owners to undergo a training class before getting a gun permit. However, lawmakers insisted that there will be harsher penalties for abuse, which they believe would deter the misuse of guns. Those found to be in violation of gun laws - such as possessing a weapon when you are prohibited - can face serious consequences in criminal court.

Unlawful Possession of a Firearm in TN

Even with the lack of licensing requirements for open or concealed carry going into effect in Tennessee, people who are prohibited from possessing guns can still face a world of trouble if they are arrested with a firearm. Some prohibitions include:

Even as firearm carry laws get more lenient in Tennessee, the criminal penalties for unlawful possession still remain.

Speak with a Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer

Do you need legal help with gun-related charges? The Murfreesboro firearm defense attorneys at Dotson & Taylor are ready to help. We help our clients defend against all types of criminal charges, so please do not wait to contact us online or call 615-890-1982 for a consultation.