Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Signs Constitutional Carry Gun Law
Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill yesterday allowing Tennessee residents to carry a gun without a permit.
Starting on July 1, Tennessee residents over the age of 21 will be able to carry open and concealed without a permit while members of the military will gain those rights at 18. This law will make Tennessee the 32nd state to allow open carry. The Governor had tweeted the following about the law:
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 bill will also increase punishments for other gun crimes. For example, the theft of a firearm is changing from a misdemeanor to a felony and it mandates 6 months in jail for the offense. Felons, people with a recent DUI, sent to a mental institution or convicted of domestic abuse or stalking will not be eligible for the benefits of the bill and the end of permitting could mean as much as a 20 million dollar loss in revenue for the state. Additionally, although the NRA is for the law, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association, Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were all opposed.
Could they turn out to be right? Could this bill be a mistake? Doubt it, but maybe. However, that’s the beauty of Federalism. Centralized government is inevitably poor government because it’s unable to account for differences in wants, values, situations in different parts of the country. On the other hand, when the states are free to try things, we can learn from them, even if it’s from their bad example. The rest of the country is learning lessons by watching places that have defunded the police, allowing rioters to run wild, and raised taxes sky-high. On the other hand, we also learn lessons from states that succeed as well. Tennessee has looked at other states where this kind of policy has succeeded like Utah, Wyoming, and South Dakota has calculated it will probably work just fine. They are probably right and if so, in a few years, you could see other states pointing to Tennessee as they pass similar laws.
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