Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced this week his intentions to sign a constitutional carry bill into law. But not everyone’s happy about it.
“Law-abiding Tennesseans will soon be able to carry a handgun in our state without unnecessary permission from the government, said Gov. Lee on Facebook Tuesday. “Tennessee becomes the 19th state with constitutional carry and it is core to our public safety agenda this year.
“I firmly believe that penalizing law-abiding Tennesseans is not a solution for reducing crime—we must stiffen penalties on those who break the law,” he continued. “This legislation protects Tennesseans’ rights while significantly increasing penalties on those who steal or unlawfully possess a firearm.”
Once signed, the bill will take effect starting July 1st of this year and military members ages 18 to 20, and every adult age 20 and up will be able to carry a firearm without a permit.
However, critics worry that things are about to turn ugly in The Volunteer State.
Memphis pastor Christopher Davis at St. Paul Baptist Church told News 3 that the law will endanger his community.
“We’re about to turn into the OK Corral in Memphis,” Pastor Davis said.
Likewise, Memphis police director Michael Rallings believes it will increase tensions between officers and citizens.
“We will assume that everybody is armed,” Dir. Rallings said, “But we’re talking about people having the right to stand on a corner armed with no legitimate purpose other than just kind of hanging out.”
While there’s a large body of evidence to counter the concerns of Pastor Davis and Dir. Rallings — 18 states, thus far, have enacted constitutional carry, and not one has turned into the Wild Wild West — some within the gun community still believe that the training requirement of the permitting process is essential.
“It’s a mistake,” said Will Dougan, an instructor at Top Gun in Northeast Memphis.
“Teaching people how to handle a firearm safely is important,” Dougan explained. “When you can use it. How to use it safely. How to use it properly. When the law allows you to use it for self-defense.”
But one could argue that responsible citizens, those inclined to carry regularly, would seek out that information on their own, anyways.
Moreover, the 2A is pretty clear in what it says, …”the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Requiring training to exercise a fundamental right, no matter how pure the stated intention, is tantamount to infringement.
As Camus once put it, “The welfare of the people has always been the alibi of tyrants…”