Tennessee on the Move Toward Constitutional Carry (HB0786/SB0765)

Virus Shutdown Threatens Constitutional Carry Bills in Tennessee, iStock-884202954
Tennessee on the Move Toward Constitutional Carry (HB0786/SB0765), iStock-884202954

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The Tennessee legislature has introduced two bills, one in the House, the other in the Senate, that have a good chance of passage. The bills change current law enough to qualify as a reasonable version of Constitutional Carry.

Majority Leaders in both the House and the Senate are in favor of the bill.

Governor Lee is in favor of the bills. From tennessean.com:

A controversial bill to allow Tennesseans to carry guns without permits is advancing in both chambers of the legislature, even as law enforcement leaders continue to speak out against the measure.

The permitless carry bill, part of Gov. Bill Lee’s legislative package and dubbed “constitutional carry” by Republicans promoting the effort, was filed in one form or another in recent years but has yet to pass the General Assembly.

The legislation would allow for both open and concealed carrying of handguns for people 21 and older without a permit, as well as for military members age 18 to 20.

Bill summary:

This bill creates an exception to the offense of unlawful carrying of a firearm, if a person meets the qualifications for an enhanced handgun carry permit, lawfully possesses a handgun, and is in a place that the person has a right to be; and revises other firearm statutes, all as discussed below.

Under present law, it is an offense for a person who carries, with the intent to go armed, a firearm or a club. This bill adds an exception to the application of this offense that a person is carrying, whether openly or concealed, a handgun and:

(1) The person meets the qualifications for the issuance of an enhanced handgun carry permit;

(2) The person lawfully possesses the handgun; and

(3) The person is in a place where the person has a right to be.

Where are the specific locations and manners which are unique to enhanced permit holder? Ftom wapp.captol.tn.gov:

(8) An enhanced handgun carry permit holder who is within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway, or other similar public place is generally exempt from the present law prohibition against carrying weapons on any property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution. Such exemption will not apply to concealed handgun carry permit holders; and

(9) A local government may not prohibit an enhanced handgun carry permit holder from possessing a handgun on public property unless the local government provides a security system consisting of metal detectors and inspection by trained personnel for such property. A local government will not be required to provide metal detectors and security inspections in order to prohibit concealed handgun carry permit holders from possessing firearms on public property.

HB0786 has passed the House sub-committee with a vote of 7-2. House Majority leader, William Lamberth is a sponsor of the bill. Senate Majority leader  Jack Johnson is a sponsor of SB0765, the Senate version of the bill.

Governor Bill Lee supported the Constitutional Carry bill by proposing it to the legislature on February 27th, 2020.  

“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.”

Governor Lee re-confirmed his commitment to passing Constitutional Carry in his State of the State address on 21 February, 2021:

Now, more than ever, Tennesseans want a strong commitment to the Second Amendment and the right to protect themselves.

And as such, I will be reintroducing Constitutional Carry legislation this year.

With Governor Lee, and both the House and Senate Majority leaders in support of Constitutional Carry, Tennessee is in the running to be a state which joins the growing number of those which have restored Constitutional carry.

A very similar bill should have passed in 2020. It died when the legislature recessed on 19 March, due to the Covid 19 scare.

The Tennessee House has 99 seats. 73 of them are held by Republicans, 26 are held by Democrats.  The Tennessee Senate has 33 seats. 27 are held by Republicans, 6 by Democrats.

Constitutional Carry is a close approximation of what Second Amendment carry rights were when the Second Amendment was ratified in 2021. In 1791, no permit was required to carry weapons, both openly or concealed.

Both Utah and Montana have restored Constitutional Carry in early 2021.  There are 18 states which operate under Constitutional Carry. Indiana and Iowa have serious efforts ongoing to restore Constitutional Carry in 2021. Efforts in other states are in various degrees of deliberation.

About 46.8% of the area of the United States has now been restored to Constitutional Carry.

All bills are subject to debate and amendments. The exact provisions any restoration of Constitutional Carry in Tennessee will be known when the bill is signed into law.

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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Having lived in Tennessee for nearly all of the first 45 years of my life, I can attest that Tennessee’s weapons laws have always been full of gotchas. In particular, TN’s permit is a HANDGUN carry permit, no other type of firearm, or item that could be construed as a weapon need apply. So, you could find yourself in a situation where the law is saying: “Never mind the handgun, you’re being charged with having a pocket knife with a blade that’s 1/8th of an inch too long for this jurisdiction.” When I would read in the police blotter about… Read more »


According to The Tennessee Firearms Association most of the resistance is coming from the Tennessee Sheriffs Association and the Tennessee Highway Patrol ( so for those that think the authorities will uphold their 2ND A Rights during a constitutional crisis, you better think again ) Like most of the country, Tennessee is still cursed with despicable democrats and some spineless republicans. It seems things are getting better since the republicans have held a majority for a while. The laws about edged weapons have been changed -no blade length restrictions and full auto is O.K. now. Like you , I think… Read more »


For those who missed it:

“most of the resistance is coming from the Tennessee Sheriffs Association and the Tennessee Highway Patrol ( so for those that think the authorities will uphold their 2ND A Rights during a constitutional crisis, you better think again )”

When the time comes for different groups of people to make decisions, it’s an almost certainty that a large percentage of LEOs are going to make the wrong decision.


Though myself a retired cop, this is why I absolutely refuse to contribute to any Sheriffs’ Associations, Fraternal Order Of Police, and similar. In my state, all have spoken against restoring our gun rights. When their telemarketers call me begging for money, I tell them “not no but hell no” and explain why. I joined Southern States PBA over a decade before I retired, ONLY after satisfying myself that they had no anti-2A agendas. They were solid until I retired and I hope they still are. They have never called me begging for money, though.


If a new law is passed that requires registration of broad categories of semiautomatic rifles, do you think LEOs should follow orders to enforce the law?


Not trying to give you a short answer, but some would and some would not. Been out of the game for over a decade now so it is hard for me to give you a good number either way. FWIW, until they discontinued comments last year, in apparent unison with communist MSM sources when the majority of comments were not to their liking, I noted an encouraging majority of cops on Police 1 dot com were standing with The Constitution on most things. There were a few in the comments who were about throwing their weight around with regard to… Read more »


I think we all believe some will and some won’t, but with respect to the question:

“If a new law is passed that requires registration of broad categories of semiautomatic rifles, do you think LEOs should follow orders to enforce the law?”

Do you think they should?


Hell no!


Thanks – I appreciate the insights.


You’re welcome!


I should add, if you honor your oath, you will not enforce un-Constitutional laws and edicts. Funny how an organization that was founded to focus LE and military on honoring the oath we all took (Oath Keepers), has been distorted by media and government into a “White Supremacist” and “Insurrectionist” organization. Now, keeping your oath to defend The Constitution is a bad thing so I guess breaking it is a good thing, somehow? I guess there should be a media and government approved organization for politicians, judges, and the cops and military who would do any and all of their… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Grigori

I agree with your interpretation of the oath you took. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you know, many in LE rationalize to themselves that all laws are constitutional unless struck down by the Supreme Court. That is how they justify their actions to enforce all laws they are ordered to enforce. The reality is that many just follow orders to keep their jobs. Others live to exert authority over others. I do believe firearm registration and new restrictions on semiautomatic rifles is where many non-LEOs have drawn the line. A portion of the segment of society who always supported LE will… Read more »


I agree. Registration and confiscation is a line for me also, therefore my warning to recruits about getting caught up in such foolishness. It was a line for me when I was on the job, knowing that if that order came down while I was still working, that I would definitely resign, and lose a pension I had worked towards and anticipated for many years. Thankfully, that day never came for me.


I often make a statement similar to your advice to recruits. Perhaps more directly applicable to politicians than cops thought. If you declare war on someone, don’t be surprised when the reciprocate.
I’m afraid current administration has finally recognized reality – hence the new walls and militarization of DC.


Yep! I have never been a member of AARP for similar reasons. I have heard for years that they are anti-2A, but have not seen overt evidence of this. If you have examples I would love to see or hear them. They DID push for the travesty we know as Obamacare and that was enough for me to decide never to join their little sh** show. Pity, as they do seem to have some nice perks and discounts, but I can live without them. If your local police or Sheriff’ associations have not gone against 2A initiatives, good for them.… Read more »


Gregori, Like most folks I started getting invitations to join at about 50 years of age. I had heard they were an enemy of 2ND A. rights too. About the time that the Clintons started pushing for the “Assault Weapons Ban “, I wrote AARP’s CEO and inquired about the organizations position on the Second Amendment. His reply left no doubt that they were using membership dues to lobby congress to get as much gun control legislation passed as possible, and he felt it was something to be very proud of. Since that time I have tried to convince people… Read more »


Thank You! This is the first concrete word I have had on them being anti-2A. Heard many times that they are, but you are the first to give me specifics. You have at least one in solidarity with you in not joining. My respect to you as well for holding your ground!


I actually used to make some small contributions to those sorts of calls. After someone SWATTED me , my whole opinion of LEOs changed. I used to trust them and look upon them as friends.
Now I just fear them, and I sure don’t trust them.
When they call me now and I start giving them the details of how I was treated, they hang up on me.

Charlie Foxtrot

FYI: Tennessee’s knife laws have changed, thanks to efforts by Knife Rights!


I just recently joined Knife Rights after reading an article here on AmmoLand. They sound like they are getting some good things done.

In South Carolina, the big thing we need is State preemption on knife laws. The state laws are not bad. The problem is that every large and small city and village has its own little restrictions that are as wide and varied as the little minds that think them up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Grigori
Matt in Oklahoma

There will always be fudd resistance. Stay the course. It’s a good thing


You would think that now that Elmer Fudd himself has had his shotgun taken from him, that they would see where this is going !


I just had to log in on this one. This is so comically un funny but is the In plain sight truth. You flat nailed it on the head where even a small child would understand and get the big picture.

Last edited 1 year ago by musicman44mag

Thanks for your support MusicMan44Mag.
My comments have historically not been so well received.
I attribute this to a pack of trolls that will say anything in an effort to silence us and make us give up. I wish they would just go and play in their own yard.


Let’s see, if Tenn, which borders many states along with TX and states along the Gulf coast align, these states that joined once before in history could build a firewall of 2A sanctuary people that would comprise a large % of the USA. Action must be taken to nullify that which is being done in Washington D.C.
Not an alarmist, but what we are witnessing is a changing of the country and erasing our Rights by temporary very evil people.



You want to create a further fracture in the group of people who support rights protected by the 2nd Amendment?

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC
Charlie Foxtrot

It is important to read and understand the proposed bills. For example, HB786/SB765 applies to TN residents and handguns only. The bill creates a legal minefield too. For example, is a permit required for carrying a handgun while hunting in a Wildlife Management Area or not? Thanks NRA for creating yet another mess with this bill! Meanwhile, actual constitutional carry bills have been opposed by the NRA in Tennessee for years.


@CF – I read it as retaining limits on “concealed handgun carry permit” holders, while putting looser limit on those without a permit who qualify for “enhanced” permit.
I’m not familiar with Tennessee permitting. Are enhanced permits only for ex-LEO or something? Does reciprocity result in visitors with permits from their own states being classified as basic permit holders? Can visitors without a permit be classified as “qualified for enhanced permit”?
As you said – what a mess & legal minefield.

Charlie Foxtrot

The enhanced permit requires 8-hours of in-person training and covers open and concealed carry of a handgun. This used to be the normal carry permit. The concealed-only permit is relatively new and was introduced with the help of the NRA 2 years ago, when we could have gotten constitutional carry instead. The concealed-only permit requires online training only and the NRA wanted to make money from offering that online training. They eventually did not get that contract. LOL For now, reciprocity for both permits are the same, until other states realize that TN reduced the training requirement for the concealed-only… Read more »


can someone post a list of the anti carry law enforcement people are , at least this way we will know who not to vote for in two years . This will be just the start and at a later date could include other types of firearms to ad to the list of permitted to carry . unfortunately sometimes we have to move in small steps to get to the desired end as we have seen democrats do for decades , one step at a time . yes it’s unfortunate that we must proceed in this manner as i too… Read more »


They are getting push back.


Part of the privilege of serving as commissioner was responsibility for overseeing our state’s handgun permit system. We are proud of the permit system Tennessee has developed and maintained. We oppose the part of pending legislation (SB 765/HB 786) that would severely undermine our handgun permit system and ultimately make it meaningless by allowing the permitless carry of handguns in public, both concealed and openly


Other than violent felons, who do you prohibit from having a permit?

(edited to rephrase to make the question more clear)

Last edited 1 year ago by JSNMGC

If they are released back onto the streets then they should have ALL of their rights.


Duane was a little vague. I was curious what types of people he is currently proud to deny the ability to carry without breaking a law.


Is Duane advocating for restrictions or just sharing an article that showcases the kind of mindset we are up against from our pseudo “protectors”?

I wondered what the difference in an “enhanced” and non-enhanced Tennessee gun permit was. In reading the article Duane provided, I take it that it hinges on how much you pay the state for the privilege of exercising your rights.


I don’t know. From what he wrote, it sounded as if he likes the current permit system. I was just curious what he likes about it – what types of people does he not want to carry firearms?


It would be good it Duane would come back and address some of the questions that have been raised. The “non-enhanced” permit is the result of a failed previous attempt of getting Constitutional Carry passed in TN. Legislators unwilling to pass real Constitutional Carry compromised with half steps in that direction. The Nashville Tennessean newspaper is a biased source opposed to Second Amendment Rights. The Tennessee Firearms Association headed by Nashville lawyer John Harris is probably the most reliable source of information on these matters. In answer to your question about the difference between permits, other than basic requirements to… Read more »


I agree, it would have been nice if Duane had elaborated a bit. Regarding The Tennessean, I would be hard pressed to name a mainstream newspaper or TV outlet thst isn’t full-on pro-communist, anymore. I seem to recall The Tenessean being liberal, like most, in the mid 1970’s when my grandparents lived in Macon County, near Lafayette. My grandparents took The Tenessean and The Nashville Banner. I don’t recall a whole lot about either, though I did read them while in my teens.

Here in SC, The State newspaper is about as full-on Communist agenda as you could ask for.


Gregori, The Tennessean used to try to enlarge their subscription base by having an employee offering trial subscriptions at our local Kroger grocery. I had read enough their anti-gun op-ed pieces ( you know the ones that no one puts their name on, just credited to the staff ) that I was absolutely fed up. I usually just walked by these people and tried to ignore them. Finally on one shopping trip the paper’s representative seemed a little desperate and aggressive about getting more readers, he called to me to come and talk to him. I kind of got in… Read more »

Charlie Foxtrot

FYI: I personally consider the concealed-only permit in TN an act of sabotage by the NRA that tanked constitutional carry in 2019. The NRA wanted to make money from the mandatory online training for the concealed-only permit and even wrote itself as a training authority into the initial bill. Luckily, the NRA got removed from the bill and didn’t get any of the online training contracts. The NRA tanked constitutional carry last year too with their own bill that got shelved as soon it was clear that there wasn’t going to be an NRA Annual Meeting in Nashville. Now, they… Read more »



Ryben Flynn

Silly. One would still need to get a permit to carry in reciprocity States.


Ideally, if enough states get on-board with Constitutional Carry, eventually there would be large pockets of the country where citizens could freely travel from state to state and legally carry without a permit, just as you can now do so with permit reciprocity in many areas. I can now travel with just my SC permit in several directions in several states. The closest possible “problem” is Virginia, two states away. I have only ever been there once in my life. Though I am glad to see any state’s citizens enjoy Constitutional Carry, I hope there is a strong push in… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Grigori

Government very seldom gets anything right and most of the right moves take forever and the wrong ones are implemented over night. That is one of the reasons why things are so messed up.


I totally agree!