Lee gun law

Gov. Bill Lee, flanked by House Majority Leader William Lamberth, signs legislation into law Thursday, April 8, 2021, allowing for carrying a handgun without a permit in Tennessee.

(The Center Square) – Carrying a handgun without a permit in Tennessee is now law after Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation Thursday to allow it.

Lee announced on social media he had signed Senate Bill 765.

"I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their [Second Amendment] rights," Lee posted. "Thank you members of the General Assembly and NRA for helping get this done."

The law allows a gun owner to carry an open or concealed handgun without a permit if the gun owner meets the qualifications for an enhanced handgun carry permit, lawfully possesses the handgun and is in a place the gun owners had a right to be. Gun owners are not required to receive gun safety training to carry.

The law makes it a Class B misdemeanor for a person to carry a handgun who has been convicted of stalking, aggravated stalking or especially aggravated stalking. It also makes it a Class B misdemeanor to carry if a person was convicted of two or more DUIs within the past 10 years or one within the past five years.

The bill was opposed by most Tennessee law enforcement, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

The Tennessee General Assembly Fiscal Review Committee estimated the bill would result in a loss of about $2.6 million a year in handgun permit revenue for the state.

Managing Editor

Jason Schaumburg is an award-winning, veteran editor who has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He spent a decade as the top editor in three northern Illinois newsrooms for Shaw Media and Pioneer Press.