Tennessee joined 19 other states that allow constitutional carry when Gov. Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 765/House Bill 786 into law earlier this month. The measure takes effect July 1, applies to law-abiding citizens 20 and older, and a provision includes those serving in the military who are 18 to 20 years of age.
“This bill is a great step forward in the advancement of self-defense rights and Second Amendment freedoms for all Tennessee gun owners,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Jason Ouimet. “It simply means law-abiding Tennessean’s no longer have to pay a tax to exercise the right of self-protection.”
The number of states joining those with constitutional carry has grown quickly in 2021. On Feb. 18 Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed House Bill 102 into law, allowing constitutional carry for state residents. Iowa became the 19th state to enroll on April 2. The measures become effective June 1 and July 1, respectively.
The other 17 states with constitutional carry laws are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah (effective May 5), Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
The merits of similar or nearly identical measures are currently being considered by a number of other state legislatures. One passed muster in a Louisiana Senate committee and is headed for debate on the body’s main floor. Texas lawmakers are also considering a permitless carry provision and South Carolina’s House recently approved a constitutional carry measure. Others are in the works across the nation.
The number of concealed carry permits issued nationwide has reach record-setting levels, despite the rapid growth of constitutional carry states. A study issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center in September 2020 reported, “Last year, the number of permit holders continued to grow by about 820,000.”