Second Amendment Rights / Stronger Penalties for Gun Theft
Several new laws will go into effect Thursday, July 1, in Tennessee. Some of the major ones include:
The General Assembly approved legislation during the 2021 legislative session allowing Tennesseans to exercise their constitutional right to carry firearms without a permit, while cracking down on criminals who steal guns or possess them illegally. The new law allows law-abiding citizens in Tennessee who are at least 21 years old or are honorably discharged or active in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves to carry a firearm without a permit in a place where they are lawfully present.
Those who carry without a permit must have no felony convictions, orders of protection in effect, pending charges or convictions for domestic violence or stalking, or have been adjudicated as a mental defective. In addition, individuals convicted of two DUI offenses within the last 10 years or one in the last five years are not eligible, as well as federal prohibitions, which include illegal aliens and fugitives from justice.
The legislation also increases penalties for firearm-related crime to promote public safety including:
Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a Class E felony;
Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
Increasing the minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days; and
Increasing the sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.
Tennessee will still retain its carry permitting process for gun owners who want to take advantage of reciprocity to carry in other states and for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) exemption.