Tennessee Governor Lee Promotes Constitutional Carry Bill in 2020

Constitutional We the People
We the People have the right to keep and bear arms. It says it right here on this old Constitution.

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- On 27 February, 2020, at 1 p.m., Governor Bill Lee announced he is proposing Constitutional Carry for Tennessee in 2020. Tennessee has been a prime candidate to join the growing number of states with Constitutional Carry.

Currently 16 states have Constitutional Carry of varying degrees. Constitutional Carry is an approximation of the state of law and the Second Amendment at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights in 1791. At that time there were no laws restricting the carry of weapons, openly or concealed.

Concealed weapons were common in the early republic, from knives and sword canes to Queen Anne’s or “Muff” pistols. From tn.gov:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Gov. Bill Lee announced that he is proposing legislation to advance the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Tennesseans by implementing a Constitutional Carry law.

“The Second Amendment is clear and concise and secures the freedoms of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “I am pleased to announce Constitutional Carry legislation today that will protect the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans, while also stiffening penalties on criminals who steal or illegally possess firearms. I appreciate Lt. Governor McNally and Speaker Sexton for helping to lead the way on this important issue.”

The governor’s legislation would extend the constitutional right to carry a handgun to all law-abiding citizens with or without a permit who are 21 and older, except in current restricted areas.

The legislation also includes several increased penalties for firearm-related crime to promote public safety including:
Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a felony;
Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
Increasing the minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days; Increasing the sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.

“A big part of protecting the Second Amendment for law-abiding citizens is cracking down on criminals who use guns. We will make sure those who commit crimes with firearms serve their full sentences and nothing less. Many states across the nation are moving towards permitless carry and I support the governor in this initiative,” said Lt. Governor Randy McNally.

“This legislation ensures that law-abiding citizens have a constitutional right to carry their handgun, but if you are a violent criminal, felon or drug dealer, there will be no tolerance for unlawful gun possession here in Tennessee,” said Speaker Cameron Sexton.

“I applaud Governor Lee’s commitment to Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights guaranteed by our U.S. and state constitutions. This proposal will reduce barriers to ensure citizens have the ability to protect themselves and their families, while imposing stiffer penalties against criminals who possess guns illegally,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

“This constitutional carry package is historic because not only does it uphold the freedoms granted to us by our nation’s founding fathers, it also imposes mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines on bad guys who illegally obtain or use handguns,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “I want to thank the National Rifle Association for their work over the years in making today a reality, and I look forward to working with Governor Lee, as well as my House and Senate colleagues to get Constitutional Carry passed in Tennessee.”

In 2019, in an Ammoland article, John Harris of The Tennessee Firearms Association was skeptical of the prospects for Constitutional Carry under a Governor Lee administration.

The potential for passage looks very good with Governor Lee and both the Senate Majority leader and the House Majority leader on board. The bill number and text have not been posted. As with all legislation, details are very important.

As of 2020, Ballotpedia reports there are 28 Republicans and 5 Democrats in the Tennessee Senate. There are 73 Republicans and 26 Democrats in the House, for super-majorities of Republicans in the entire legislature. The Tennessee legislature remains in session from 14 January, to 1 May in 2020. The bill should be introduced and acted on relatively quickly, if it is to pass in 2020.

If Tennessee becomes the first state to move into the Constitutional Carry camp in 2020, it will be the 17th state with Constitutional Carry. Over one third of all 50 states will then have a form of Constitutional carry, where no government permit is required for the open or concealed carry of a loaded handgun in most public places.

About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Operator Z

A step in the right direction.


Seems to me that no right is absolute. Free speech has limits. Faith has limits. Does the 2A have any? If so, what would those be? My state, WA, is on the downhill path to ever more restrictions and I hate it, but are any of them legit? The 2A itself offers no guidance on what kind of arms the citizens may have. In researching the Founder’s intent, it seems we have the right to have the same light weapons as the military. But I haven’t found anything saying the state/fed gov’t can’t put up some limits.


This means you can have them, not what kind. That isn’t said. The Founders seemed to favor light arms, not cannons, etc. Having said that, until early in the last century you could mail order a cannon.




@loveaduce, Will; Will, I totally agree with you. loveaduck, The Second Amendment IS the LIMIT that IS set against the government of any INFRINGEMENTS on OUR REAFFIRMED and RECOGNIZED RIGHT to DEFEND OURSELVES with any weapon WE deem appropriate – – INCLUDING any weapon OUR Military has access to!!!!!! Don’t give any bull as to which weapon an American Citizen is not capable of “taking care of and having it function correctly”.


This is NOT constitutional carry! There is still government mandated training and restrictions on carry.

Operator Z

Where did you read there is a training requirement? I see none.

Charlie Foxtrot

The whole point of constitutional carry is NOT to have government mandated training! Also, what restrictions on carry you speak of?

Charlie Foxtrot

I pointed this out in an earlier thread. We could have gotten this last year, but the NRA wanted to make money and betrayed TN gun owners once again. A permitless carry bill was proposed last year, but the NRA supported a concealed-only permit bill with online-only training instead. The NRA even wrote itself into the initial bill as an authority to offer the online training. The final bill had the NRA removed and became law January 1, 2020. The NRA was not able to make money off the online training as other companies had already cornered this market (and… Read more »


I like it but have reservations about adding to “felons in possession” and “providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun”. I can see those coming back to bite good people or people who are not necessarily bad. These days, nearly everything is a damn felony. I see classifying more crimes as felonies as one more way of back-door increasing prohibited persons. The juvenile thing sounds very ripe for abuse. What about the parent who leaves a handgun with a responsible juvenile who will be home alone? Hell, when I was in high school… Read more »


Exactly do 18 year old not enlist in the military, have families that need protection, etc ? Do young girls not get raped ? Even young men at times. Do they not get prosecuted as adults when a crime is committed ? Were the younger generation not able to carry when the Bill of Rights was written ? I think they were & most were starting families at a younger age. They were providers. Society has changed to codify the young longer. But not all young people fall under this rule. Some start life responsibilities early. I do think the… Read more »


I support fully restoring someone’s rights once they have served their time and have cleared probation, but I keep getting tripped up on this one particular speed bump that no once can seem to answer. I spit it out there three or four different times yesterday, but no one took it up. Question: for those that believe in the Constitution when it comes to the right to keep and bear arms, and how denying these rights to a convicted felon is an affront to that guarantee, then answer me this: what becomes of the MS13 gang member with a violent… Read more »


Will– Thank you for making my case for me. I didn’t really expect any response because it’s such a slippery slope. The Constitution makes no allowances for its words, such as any Conversationalist would argue, that we can make interpretations for it on a case by case bases. Like you, I have to take it upon myself to argue for allowances because the Federalists didn’t have MS13 gang members running around back then. To argue that different times call for different measures is most assuredly to argue against the letter of the law when it comes to the Constitution. It’s… Read more »


StWayne, evil criminals will find a way to obtain and have a gun, regardless of what the law says. In our joke of a “justice” system, they can commit a robbery, another assault, or a murder, and be back on the streets again in a frighteningly few years. Does anyone believe that simply possessing a gun illegally will keep them down for significant additional time? Meanwhile, the guy who did “felony” time for “laundering” money, not paying taxes, possession of too much material from plants capable of growing in nature, and the like, gets out and is forever a sitting… Read more »


@StWayne; You answer is to be found in the Federalist Papers written by our astounding Founders of OUR Nation.
In their writings, you will find there is ONE REASON for “restricting” ownership of weapons by an individual. This reason is; “IF a person is WANTON TO HARM OTHERS, they should not have weapons” – (paraphrased).


Thanks for sharing. I looked it up ‘Wanton:’ “of a cruel or violent action, deliberate and unprovoked.” This again takes me beck to my original struggle for definition, because the word ‘wanton’ applies to any felon. If, therefore, the word ‘wanton’ can be applied to any felon, to include the MS13 gang member, where do we draw the line when it comes to restorative rights? So far, I’ve seen nothing more than emotion, being the deciding factor. Which of course negates this whole journey for Constitutional truth because emotions are basically just whims. Whatever legality it is that separates a… Read more »


Yee Haw. America wins again.

Everyone in the communist states of America seem to think Texas has no gun laws. I wonder when we going to catch up with the 17 constitutional carry states?