Tennessee's new permitless carry law is set to go into effect on Thursday, allowing for all Tennesseans 21 and older - as well as military members 18 and older - to open or conceal carry firearms without a permit, save for those with felony convictions and other disqualifiers.
Dubbed the "Constitutional Carry Bill," the law was co-sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and was signed by Gov. Bill Lee on Apr. 8. While the law removes the requirement for Tennesseans to first obtain a gun permit before open or conceal carrying, it also increases the penalty for stealing a firearm from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Those exercising their right under the new law are still prohibited from possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. Businesses also still retain the right to prohibit firearms on private property.
Tennessee law enforcement groups have voiced safety concerns regarding the new law, sharing an open letter with state legislators in February that outlined their specific concerns.
"We have no option but to oppose the bill as drafted," the letter read. "If the cost of obtaining a permit is viewed as a barrier, simply eliminate the fee. The safety of our officers and every Tennessean is the reason we go to work everyday."
Nevertheless, the bill moved forward and was ultimately signed by Lee, and will become law on Thursday, July 1.