Tennessee’s new permitless firearm carry law took effect July 1.
Under this new law, people will be able to carry a handgun without a concealed carry permit — but there are still plenty of laws and rules people must adhere to or risk running afoul of the law.
First, it only applies to handguns, not rifles or shotguns.
Next, you have to be someone who would qualify for a carry permit to begin with. That means you are 21 or older or 18-21 if you are serving in the military or honorably discharged. You cannot have any prior felony convictions.
And you can’t carry a handgun everywhere. You still need a permit to carry a firearm in a public park, campground, or greenway. Private businesses can also ban guns from their property, and you are expected to comply with posted signs that state weapons are not allowed.
Firearms are not permitted on school property or at parks where school events are taking place.
You cannot possess a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
And other states may not recognize permitless carry within their jurisdiction.
The penalties for breaking these laws have also increased.
For example, theft of a firearm had previously been a misdemeanor. Now, it’s a felony with a six-month mandatory sentence.
Owning and carrying a firearm comes with a lot of responsibility. Part of that responsibility is learning what is and is not allowed.
If you are interested in carrying a handgun, invest in a training course — or multiple courses.
Permit carry classes cover relevant laws, including the fundamentals of self-defense. They also cover safety and selecting the right firearm and ammunition. You can even practice your marksmanship.
If you are new to gun ownership, you can learn about basic terminology, storing firearms for safety, and how to keep your firearm in good working condition.
You can take both a written test and firing range qualification to apply for an enhanced carry permit.
Yes, these courses take time. Yes, these courses cost money. But both are small investments when you consider the responsibility you take on when you carry a firearm.