A Tale of Three Tennessee Bills – The Case for Constitutional Carry


A Tale of Three Tennessee Bills – The Case for Constitutional Carry

New Jersey – -(AmmoLand.com)-  On a growing list that has been exploding as of late, Tennessee aims to be the next state to enter to fold of Constitutional Carry.  To date, there are three bills that wish to achieve the same thing, allow those that are lawfully allowed to purchase a firearm to carry one without first obtaining a permit.

The bills that have been introduced are SB 0318/HB 0018, SB 0765/HB 0786, and SB 1391/HB 1388.  The finer details of each of these bills need to have particular attention paid.

Right now, the forerunner is SB 765 and dubbed as “the Governor’s” bill, with Governor Bill Lee showing strong support for its passage.

Through a tip sent to AmmoLand News, SB 765 may not be all that it is cracked up to be.  In addition to a good amount of “pork” being injected into the bill, the text of the legislation will only apply to handguns as statutorily defined by Tennessee law.  According to current TN law, a handgun is “any firearm with a barrel length of less than twelve inches (12″) that is designed, made or adapted to be fired with one (1) hand”.  For those TN residents that wish to carry a long gun or a pistol that has a barrel over 12”, this could be problematic.  Other scrutiny over the bill involves excluding those under the age of 21 from being covered by the exemption who would otherwise be able to lawfully own the firearm.  Most of the additional changes involve an overhaul of criminal statutes.

SB 1391 works to remove penalties for not having a permit to carry when in possession of a firearm should they lawfully be able to purchase one.  But also overhauls more of the criminal statutes.

And finally, SB 319 is more broad in injecting exemptions should a person carrying a firearm not have a permit to carry and they meet the statutory requirements to possess a firearm.  There is seemingly no pork added to the provisions of this bill.

None of the bills are as crisp as the Constitutional Carry Bill that was recently signed into law in Utah.  However, these are all solid steps in the right direction.

Constitutional Carry?

Going forward, what bill may or may not gain the most traction has yet to be seen.  With SB 765 having strong support by Governor Lee, it’s quite possible this is the bill that becomes law in the Volunteer State.  Citizens in Tennessee should review all the three proposed bills themselves and contact their lawmakers on which one they feel should get the most traction.  At the end of the day, should SB 765 become law, it will not be the end of the world, but a very large step in the right direction to making TN a true constitutional carry state.  In every and any event should any of these bills be signed into law, those carrying a firearm in the state of TN need to review the changes to make sure they are not going afoul of the new rules.

John Petrolino is a US Merchant Marine Officer, writer, author of Decoding Firearms: An Easy to Read Guide on General Gun Safety & Use and NRA certified pistol, rifle, and shotgun instructor living under and working to change New Jersey’s draconian and unconstitutional gun laws. You can find him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com on twitter at @johnpetrolino and on instagram @jpetrolinoiii .

John Petrolino
John Petrolino
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Supposedly our new crappy Constitutional Carry is also carrying some sort of gun control dung, some misdemeanor carry ban. If certain people have certain misdemeanors they would be ban to carry for life. Some of what I know is, a person with a DUI within 5 years or 2 in 10 years would be banned from carrying a firearm. I live in Memphis and have been trying to find out what is exactly in these Bills, but can’t find what’s in the language of the Bills. I know Gov. Lee can be shady and really don’t trust him, the Republicans… Read more »

Charles Nichols

The best way to determine which bill has the best chance of passing is to look for the bill with the most pork attached.

Dr. Strangelove

Constitutional carry passed the House and Senate in Iowa, we’re just waiting for Governor Reynolds to stop dithering and sign it.

Charlie Foxtrot

You missed a few things. SB 765 only applies to TN residents and other provisions in the law requiring a permit remain, such as carrying a handgun while hunting on a Wildlife Management Area. You also missed that SB 765 is the only bill supported by the NRA and its clueless members. It’s the third year in a row where we don’t get actual constitutional carry, because the NRA wants something else. 2 years ago, the NRA torpedoed a constitutional carry, because they wanted to pass a concealed-carry only permit bill. Why? The NRA wanted to make money with the… Read more »


^^^ Under-rated comment! ^^^

Dr. Strangelove

I’m a life member, but I no longer donate to Wayne LaPierre’s Wardrobe Fund. They need to get their $#!+ in one bag.


I quit during the fallout from Waco. LaPierre and NRA reacted by fund raising over ” jackbooted thugs” which I agreed with. President Bush counter attacked saying the ATF and FBI were his good buddies and LaPierre backed down. It is bad enough that when other gun rights groups are brave and determined enough to actually to sue in the courts and the NRA tries to co-opt and take credit,.. but what they are doing in TN amounts to delay and prevention of actual rights restoration ! At this point, I consider the NRA an anti-gun rights organization. I have… Read more »