The Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) is suing the state of Tennessee to challenge the constitutionality of its new permitless carry law. The coalition filed on behalf of three Tennessean men ages 18, 19, and 20 – they argue that the law excludes an entire class of law-abiding adults because it doesn’t apply to adults under 21 years old.
“[T]he State completely denies the right to bear arms to all law-abiding adults under age 21, prohibiting the plaintiffs, and those similarly situated to them, from carrying loaded, operable handguns outside their home for self-defense, in violation of their Second Amendment rights,” asserted FPC’s press release.
Governor Bill Lee championed the legislation as “constitutional carry.” The governor signed the bill into law one month ago.
“I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done,” wrote Lee.
I signed constitutional carry today because it shouldn’t be hard for law-abiding Tennesseans to exercise their #2A rights. Thank you members of the General Assembly and @NRA for helping get this done. pic.twitter.com/xv2ZenOEZq
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 8, 2021
FPC Senior Director of Legal Operations Adam Kraut called Tennessee’s permitless carry legislation unconstitutional on its face.
“Tennessee’s statutory scheme unconstitutionally denies a large number of adults their fundamental, individual right to bear arms outside the home,” stated Kraut. “The text of the Second Amendment makes clear that the right to keep and bear arms ‘shall not be infringed,’ and nothing in America’s history and tradition supports Tennessee’s laws banning carry by adults under age 21. This lawsuit seeks to vindicate the rights of our clients and restore individual liberty in Tennessee and beyond.”
The Constitution is silent on age requirements concerning the right to bear arms.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” reads the Second Amendment.
Federal law currently prohibits anyone under 18 from possessing handguns or handgun ammunition, with few exceptions concerning certain activities (such as ranching or hunting), military service, inheritance, or protection against an intruder. There exists no minimum age for the possession of long guns or long gun ammunition.
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