Tennessee bill would let 18-year-olds carry handgun without permit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee bill could lower the minimum age for carrying a handgun from 21 to 18.

The state House passed a bill that would allow 18-year-olds to carry a handgun without a permit.

Currently, only people 18 and up who have been honorably discharged from the military can carry a gun without a permit in the state.

MORE: Permitless carry law begins in Tennessee

Last year, Governor Bill Lee signed legislation allowing most Tennesseans aged 21 and up to carry without a permit.

A majority of state leaders from Shelby County on both sides of the aisle opposed the new bill.

Some said the law segregated the state by allowing some adults under 21 to carry without a permit while others could not.

Rep. Antonio Parkinson said, “Now the 18-year-old untrained individual walking around with a gun. With no background check.”

“It’s removing infringements on your second amendment right provided by God first and by our constitution that you have to protect yourself.”

Some said the bill would be harmful to many communities in Memphis.

Rep. Joe Townes said, “Young people today are not like they were when you come along. They are unraised. They are not disciplined. They are emotional. And, when you’re 18 years old, I know this, you’re trying to impress a girl.”

The current bill now heads to the Senate, and still has a way to go before reaching the Governor’s desk.

Read the bill here.