Gun Rights Group Sues Tennessee over Permitless Carry Law – Says Age Limit Violates Second Amendment Rights


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.

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.

FPC also filed lawsuits against similar laws imposing age-based restrictions on bearing arms in California and Pennsylvania.

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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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7 Thoughts to “Gun Rights Group Sues Tennessee over Permitless Carry Law – Says Age Limit Violates Second Amendment Rights”

  1. Chas

    I’ve been waiting for this.. Now the attorneys should sue the federal government for the same thing, and should tell ALL 18 years old to NOT sign up for selective service until their rights are recognized…

  2. barkster

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong… but I have never viewed the new law as “Constitutional Carry”. Every news article I have read describes the law stating that (basically) a person can carry without a permit so long as they meet current “qualifications” stated in law. Does that include the training? How is one supposed to prove they are qualified?… carry around a training report? If so, then what’s the difference between that and a carry permit? Does the new law compel police in TN to presume that a person who is carrying is “qualified”? Can a police officer detain and question the “qualification” of an individual who they observe carrying?

  3. Ron Welch

    The law should have simply been pursuant to Article I, Section 26 of the State Constitution Declration of Rights which applies equally to ALL adult citizens. When a law discriminates you open it to lawsuits based on the “equal protection of the laws” in the 14th Amendment. Of course, that is often VIOLATED when government officials and agents are EXEMPTED from laws, especially gun laws, they pass against the rights of citizens, but not themselves who are EMPLOYEES working under our delegated powers!

  4. Jay

    Chip stop drinking the Kool Aid. You libs know that thugs of all ages have access to guns Laws don’t matter to them.

  5. 83ragtop50

    I am not opposed to 18, 19 and 20 year-olds carrying but is a lawsuit the way to accomplish the desired result? If the lawsuit succeeds will the law be null and void and NO ONE will be permitted to open carry? Sounds like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to me. Of course I am not a lawyer (thank goodness).

  6. Chip

    Absolutely. If we’re going to flood our state with unregistered guns and untrained gunmen, there should not be any age limits! 6 year olds should have the right to protect themselves! And I see a whole new market for holsters that fit in a crib! This is America and our Constitution guarantees the rights of newborns to bear arms!!!

    1. Steve Allen

      There is no requirement for firearms registration in the majority of states and most certainly not Tennessee. I dare say Tennessee is already “flooded” with firearms. I am in favor of, at a minimum, having to pass some sort of training program including the teaching of confrontation avoidance, de-escalation of violence, and how to proceed after a self defense shooting has occurred. This would also apply to 18-20 year olds. And as to the right of newborns to bear arms, that would be dependent on whether they were blessed and loved enough to have not been aborted, which liberals seem to have no problem with. Y’all jump up and down about requiring a waiting period to purchase a handgun….how about the same the seeking an abortion?