NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The Tennessee State Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would strip the requirement for gun holders to get a permit.

It’s a part of legislation that was part of Gov. Bill Lee’s key issues for this legislative session.

As the law stands now, Tennesseans must have a permit to carry a gun. To get that permit it requires training, background checks and even fingerprinting.

Some lawmakers said the new law would change very little.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, said the bill the legislature tried to pass last year was sidelined due to COVID initiatives.

Johnson said 31 states have laws that don’t allow gun owners to get a permit. He also said the focus should be on criminals who commit crimes with guns, not on everyday people.

“In existing law right now, you can carry a firearm in an automobile without a permit, you can carry it one a motorcycle without a permit, you can carry it on a boat without a permit,” Johnson said. “Certainly you can have it in your home or business, so really all this bill fixes is now you can walk from your vehicle to that business with that loaded weapon and not be in violation of a Class C misdemeanor.”

Lawmakers on the other side of the issue are nervous.

They said if a gunowner can’t pass a background check because of a felony record or they’re unable to pass a training class, why put them in public with a loaded firearm.

“You can believe in the Second Amendment and believe in responsible gun ownership,’ said Sen. Jeff Yarbro, D-Nashville. “But understand that not just every knucklehead needs to be walking around the streets carrying a loaded firearm.”


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