Constitutional Carry Bill Passes in House, Now Heads to Governor’s Desk


The Tennessee House passed the bill allowing permitless open or concealed carry, dubbed the “Constitutional Carry Bill.” It will head to Governor Bill Lee’s desk, where it’s expected to be signed.

Under the bill, anyone 21 and older could lawfully carry without a permit, for both open and concealed carry. These provisions would only apply to handguns. A slew of House amendments proposed to the bill were withdrawn.

During the third and final hearing of the bill, State Representative William Lamberth (R-Portland) argued that citizens shouldn’t have to ask government permission, pay fees, and attend classes in order to exercise their Constitutional rights.

If you think that one class, one time in your life makes you a perfectly safe firearm owner and user, you don’t understand firearms. If you own firearms, learn to store them safely, go to classes regularly, go out to the range all the time – go as often as you possibly can, learn that weapon and understand how to safely utilize it if you need to defend your own life or someone else’s. But the difference between the mentality on this bill is that there are those of us that believe in this legislation that say you should not be required to pay a fee, ask permission of the government, and yes go to a class that, while helpful, is not the end of the day. We do not believe that you should have to do those things to exercise your Second Amendment rights. This is a massive step forward for freedom.

Some supporters of limiting gun regulations have certain concerns with this bill. Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris remarked that the more appropriate name for the bill would be “permitless carry.” He said that it didn’t deserve the title “constitutional carry” because it doesn’t guarantee that any citizens can carry.

Rather, Harris suggested that the better bill would be one proposed by State Representative Chris Todd (R-Madison County).

Lee proposed similar legislation last year just before the onset of the pandemic. Due to COVID-related strains on the legislative session, consideration of the bill was tabled.

The House passed the engrossed version of the Senate bill, 64-29. The only Republicans who voted against the bill were State Representatives John Gillespie (R-Memphis), Patsy Hazelwood (R-Signal Mountain), Eddie Mannis (R-Knoxville), Mark White (R-Memphis), and Sam Whitson (R-Franklin). Only one Democrat voted for the bill: State Representative John Mark Windle (D-Livingston).

Watch the session:

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].






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9 Thoughts to “Constitutional Carry Bill Passes in House, Now Heads to Governor’s Desk”

  1. […] would join multiple other states that have passed similar legislation. Earlier this year, Tennessee joined dozens of states in approving the […]


    As soon as voters start paying attention to what our elected RINO’s are doing in Nashville, then and only then will true, Constitutional carry be the law of the land in Tennessee. I hope Governor Bill Lee does sign this bill. It’s several steps in the right direction, with more steps needed, to complete true Constitutional carry.

  3. Ron Welch

    We HAVE Constitutional Carry in our State Constitution’s Declaration of Rights. Legislation should simply be pursuant to that right stated in Article I ,Section 26

    1. Ron Welch

      Replying to myself as an addendum, I’m wondering if this bill stipulates open carry which seems to be a typical provision of “permitless carry” in other States? The current handgun carry permit allows either open or concealed carry and has reciprocity with 35+ other States. But it still needs correction and simplicity to be pursuant to our declared right in the State Constitution.

    2. Horatio Bunce

      Agreed. The 11-year Republican super majority now openly admits the unconstitutional (and therefore illegal) fees, age limits, permits and “carrying with the intent to go armed” laws….but won’t repeal them.

      Why doesn’t the constitution apply to all ages? How do they deny rights to 18-20 year olds, hold their secondary education hostage if they don’t register for selective service, but gladly ship them off to fight another undeclared-by-Congress (and therefore illegal) war with full auto weapons? You 18-20 year olds are only cannon fodder to Republicans. This is Bill Lee’s fake constitutional carry. Better bills, truthfully named, already exist in this session.


      Here here. Well said Mr. Welch!

  4. T

    Well done! Add long guns to the law next session. This is a big reason why I moved to TN. Governor Lee get a secession plan readied next please.

    Shame on John Gillespie (R-Memphis), Patsy Hazelwood (R-Signal Mountain), Eddie Mannis (R-Knoxville), Mark White (R-Memphis), and Sam Whitson (R-Franklin)

    1. 83ragtop50

      T – It would appear the Mr. Gillespie favors criminals over law abiding citizens. I say this because he is pushing for the disastrous criminal reform bill being thrust upon us from the capitol. Unfortunately self-proclaimed conservative law and order representatives such as William Lamberth are pushing hard on letting criminals back on the street with a slap on the wrist and a promise to behave themselves. Event to the point for a future opportunity for probation for those having already violated a previous probation. Isn’t one definition of insanity doing the same thing over and expecting different results?! You cannot make up stuff like this.

      1. T

        it’s the definition of insanity most used by those with a leftist brain. There are a handful of reps in this state that only use an R for votes. They learned well from their federal counterparts. The law abiding citizens will be forced to pile bodies of the re-offenders. At least we will have the option of defense without as much authoritarian rule now. No thanks to TN law enforcement agencies who now realize the citizens will be better armed than them, as it should be.