Critics on Tennessee’s Constitutional Carry Law: About to Turn Memphis into ‘OK Corral’

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.”

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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…”

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Scott Smith April 8, 2021, 12:49 pm

    Shocking that an instructor at a “Training Academy” would advocate mandatory training.
    Not that I am against training, I have been teaching my girls from a young age.
    The Eddie Eagle program is available free and should be offered at every school in the Country.
    The high dollar training?
    Cool if it’s for you, it’s not for me.

  • Trevor_Phillips April 3, 2021, 9:30 pm

    All those thugs in Memphis will be a little more hesitant to rob someone now.

  • Gourdhead April 2, 2021, 4:55 pm

    We have all heard for years the scare tactics of the anti-gunners, none of which has ever materialized.

  • Big Ange April 2, 2021, 2:18 pm

    Memphis is already the OK Corral…..actually worse, more like Detroit Lite. This can only make it better. I understand why the police don’t like it, they’ve failed for years. Cant create a situation where all the “subjects” don’t need you.

  • Clifford Williams April 2, 2021, 11:56 am

    “We will assume that everybody is armed,” Dir. Rallings said

    Good! and so will the criminals!

    The biggest myth about the “old west” was that is was an extremely dangerous place. It was in fact, quite safe for most people because just about “everyone” was armed!

  • Gerry April 2, 2021, 10:56 am

    We’ve had constitutional carry in AZ for years. Phoenix is the 5th-largest city in the country. Gun crime here is commensurate with any city of this size, no more, no less. There was no huge increase in firearms carry or use. Memphis will be just fine.

  • AK April 2, 2021, 10:43 am

    Funny, that’s what Sara Brady said about Florida being the first major population state to pass “shall issue” in 1986. In 1990, she had to retract what she said, saying “it’s working out better than we expected…”

  • MSG John Laigaie April 2, 2021, 9:35 am

    We have “permitless” carry in Montana. No permit required. No worries here.

  • Charles April 2, 2021, 9:20 am

    Pastor Davis apparently does not realize that one of the factors at the OK Corral was an attempt to utilize a “gun control ordinance” to make the town “safer”. As much as I am inclined to side with the Earp brothers, because it has been demonstrated that the Cowboys gang, led by the Clantons, were outlaws, it was a typical failed attempt at trying to legislate lawlessness.

    • Kane April 2, 2021, 11:55 am

      Exactly, and at least some of the Earp family and associations were criminals themselves. That was a case of gun confiscation overreach. Maybe the Clantons were bad bunch but the comparison is another display of the clueless fumbling anties.

  • Robert Lee April 2, 2021, 9:09 am

    Response to this will give you a clear understanding of the difference between Communist overlords and Patriots.

  • Ed Rollins Jr April 2, 2021, 9:08 am

    We heard the same argument in WV when our legislature passed our Constitutional Carry (Wild West would surely happen!)…. The reality was exactly the opposite: “An armed society is a polite society”. Our crime rate decreased and life has gone on… Safer….. We hope and pray that our 2A rights are only strengthened and not diminished, may God Bless the great state of West Virginia!!!

  • Jack April 2, 2021, 8:50 am

    The OK Corral is located in Arizona, where we already have Constitutional Carry. We’re just fine.

  • Jackpine April 2, 2021, 8:17 am

    “We’re about to turn into the OK Corral…”

    The exact same language was used when MN voted to allow concealed carry. Didn’t happen.

  • william trebing April 2, 2021, 8:11 am

    Good deal for the honest citizens of Memphis. Memphis has a rep in Tenn for being a hotbed for crime. Robbery, car thieves are prominent. Just sayin.

  • Dr Motown April 2, 2021, 7:41 am

    “We will assume that everybody is armed,” laments the police chief……well, shouldn’t you already be doing that in Memphis?

  • Mark N. April 1, 2021, 12:48 am

    Meanwhile, the West Coast is gong the other direction. In a ruling applicable to California, Oregon, Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently held that the 2A does NOT guarantee a right to openly bear arms in public. It previously held that there is no right to a concealed carry permit.

  • Mark N. April 1, 2021, 12:45 am

    “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.”

    Since when do I need a “legitimate purpose” to hang out on a street corner? I mean, isn’t that what hanging out is all about?

    • Big Al 45 April 2, 2021, 10:23 am

      I too spotted that. I wish I could ask him what his “legitimate purpose” is.
      Because he’s a cop??
      That folks, is the mindset of the Communist.
      And he probably doesn’t even realize he said it.

      • Clifford Williams April 2, 2021, 12:02 pm

        I recently watch a documentary about the 1500’s in Japan where the country went through 150 of civil war. Finally one Samurai achieved control of the entire country. Do you now what his first decree was once he had complete control? It was to confiscate the weapons held by the peasants! Anyone who resisted was executes! The irony of this was this Samurai was once a peasant himself!

        The very first act of any totalitarian government is to confiscate the weapons of the people!

    • AK April 2, 2021, 10:45 am

      Comrade, you should be doing something useful for the collective…or we’ll find something for you to do….

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