Gov. Lee signs bill into law allowing permitless carry in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill allowing permitless carry into law in Tennessee Thursday.

It allows both open and concealed carry of guns for people 21 and older without a permit. It’s the same for military members between 18 and 20 years old. No background check or training is required.

The bill also includes tougher penalties for gun-related crimes.

Lee tweeted the signing, sharing a picture.

“I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done,” he tweeted.

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Currently, any adult who is not a prohibited person, like a felon, can purchase a gun in Tennessee. Anyone 18 or older with a license can carry it openly. You have to be over 21 with a license to carry a concealed weapon.

But come July, people over 21 will be allowed to purchase a gun and carry it openly or concealed without a permit.

Director Rallings with the Memphis Police Department has been very vocal and stressing concern about this bill.

“I think permitless carry is bad for Memphis. I don’t see how it is such a great thing for the state of Tennessee when the state of Tennessee leads the nation in violence, one of the top three in violence, especially violence against children,” Rallings stated last month.

Lee initially proposed the National Rifle Association-backed legislation last year before the COVID-19 pandemic caused lawmakers to narrow their focus. The Republican governor renewed that effort when lawmakers returned for this year’s legislative session.

Nearly 20 other states currently don’t require permits for concealed carry. However, law enforcement groups have largely opposed the move and consider the state’s existing permit system an important safeguard for knowing who should or shouldn’t be carrying a gun.

AP contributed to this story.