Tennessee on the Brink of Strong Constitutional Carry

Virus Shutdown Threatens Constitutional Carry Bills in Tennessee, iStock-884202954
Tennessee on the Brink of Strong Constitutional Carry, iStock-884202954

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Tennessee is on the brink of passing a strong Constitutional Carry bill. HB0786 originally relied on the requirements needed for an advanced carry permit in Tennessee.

The requirement made the bill somewhat unclear. The Tennessee Senate amended the bill to change the “advanced carry permit” section to a requirement the person be 21 years of age or more, with exceptions for people who served in the military. The bill passed the Senate on 18 March 2021.

On 29 March 2021, The House passed the bill without amendment.

The bill amends Tennessee Code 39-17-1307 by adding section (g).

The House amendment needs to be affirmed by the Senate, before being sent to Governor Lee. It seems a done deal. The celebrations should wait until the bill is signed into law.

Here is the language of the Constitutional Carry bill SB0765. From capitol.tn.gov:

by deleting the amendatory language of Section 1 and substituting instead the following:

(g) It is an exception to the application of subsection (a) that a person is carrying, whether openly or concealed, a handgun and:


(A) The person is at least twenty-one (21) years of age; or

(B) The person is at least eighteen (18) years of age and:

(i) Is an honorably discharged or retired veteran of the United States armed forces;

(ii) Is an honorably discharged member of the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve, who has successfully completed a basic training program; or

(iii) Is a member of the United States armed forces on active duty status or is a current member of the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve, who has successfully completed a basic training program;

(2) The person lawfully possesses the handgun; and 

(3) The person is in a place where the person is lawfully present.

 AND FURTHER AMEND by inserting the following new section immediately preceding the last section and renumbering the subsequent section accordingly:

The new law mimics the requirements of the current carry permit in general, including prohibiting carry by a class of individuals that may be unique to Tennessee.

Anyone convicted of a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the last five years, or two DUI offenses in the last 10 years, would be unable to carry a firearm with the intent to go armed. That prohibition is in the current permit law 39-17-1351.

Tennessee Governor Lee is expected to sign the bill.

Iowa has sent a clear Constitutional Carry bill to Governor Kim Reynolds. She will probably sign the bill.

If the governors of both Iowa and Tennessee sign their respective bills into law, Iowa and Tennessee will become the 19th and 20th members of the Constitutional Carry club.

Nineteen states will have restored Constitutional Carry, joining Vermont.

Vermont is the only state to maintain Constitutional Carry through the slave era, the black codes in the aftermath of the Civil War, and the Progressive era, where laws against concealed carry were passed to disarm various minority groups from slaves to new immigrants, who were out of favor.

Twenty states or 40% of the Union is a number that cannot be ignored. It is almost exactly 50% (49.4%) of the land area of the United States.  The 18 current Constitutional Carry states are:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi   Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The states are large and small, with large urban centers and large rural areas, on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and in the middle of the country.

The next most likely candidate for restoring Constitutional Carry is Indiana.

If Constitutional Carry passes in Indiana, more than 50% of the land area of the United States will be under close approximations of carry law as it existed when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.

About 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.

Dean Weingarten

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Arizona Don

Eleven years ago Arizona, more precisely the two big cities in Arizona Tucson and Phoenix, were quickly becoming the carjack and kidnap capital of the United States. Something had to be done and that was becoming more obvious each day. Consequently our congress passed and our governor signed into law a constitutional carry law making it legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in Arizona. Almost overnight crime began a turn downward. We have always had open carry but that actually did nothing to avert crime. We also had at the time concealed carry with a permit. That too was insufficient because many Arizonans… Read more »


Tennessee always has to make a confusing mess out of these kind of laws.

Constitutional carry should be simple: Ideally, it should be anyone, anything, anywhere, anytime. Tennessee wants to SAY it has Constitutional Carry, but NOT REALLY have it.

If you’re in Tennessee, you’re probably still better off getting the permit, the higher tier one. (See what I mean? What other state has two levels of permit?). If you’re visiting from out of state, don’t forget your permit. If you’re a veteran, or reservist, you need to carry that ID, which makes it tantamount to a permit.

Pssst! Hey Bub!

Idaho has two levels of permits. The higher level is typically what is accepted by other reciprocity states.

Charlie Foxtrot

I agree. It’s a mess. TN gun laws are a patchwork, because, and here it comes, carrying a firearm with the “intent to go armed” is generally a crime in TN. The law just provides very specific exceptions for this crime.

The hope is that this new law normalizes carrying without a permit somewhat, so that the law can be fixed over time.

PS: Oh, and “intent to go armed” does mean having an empty holstered handgun and a loaded magazine in the pocket.


Yeah, whenever I would see someone charged with carrying “X” for the purpose of going armed, I would think, “well duh! Why else would you do that?” I guess maybe “looks good on my belt” “matches my purse” or some sort…

Well, they are slowly moving in the right direction.