Tennessee now offers a new concealed carry-only handgun permit that doesn’t require an appli-cant to demonstrate the ability to fire a weapon. The law takes effect Jan. 1. Under the new hand-gun law, a permit to carry a concealed hand-gun could be obtained after online training of at least 90 minutes.The state’s curr
ent car-ry permit, which allows for open and concealed carry-ing, will remain the same, but is now being called an “enhanced permit.” It will require taking an in-person course and paying a $100 application fee.The new permit will cost $65, but will only al-low for concealed carry. ‘I see it as reckless in how it was pushed through’According to Richard Brooks, owner of Tem-plar Shooting Sports in Tullahoma, the bill was introduced and “pushed through legislation hastily under the motivation to allow Tennessee residents to more easily obtain a permit.” “However, I see it as reckless in how it was pushed through,” he said. This permit will al-low anyone who has com-pleted a 90-minute video training session to get a concealed only permit, he said. “There is no shoot-ing requirement or dem-onstration of proficiency with a firearm, as the cur-rent enhanced training re-quires,” Brooks said. Brooks has been teach-ing the handgun permit class for eight years.“I have had many, who even claim to have a lot of experience with firearms, that have needed a lot of training to be safe,” he said.Some individuals, in-cluding law enforcement officers and military vet-erans, will benefit from the new law, said Brooks. “However, does
this truly make it easier for Tennesseans to get a permit?” he said. “You can comfortably get the required online train-ing from your recliner at home, which will have a fee, so yes, you’re paying for the training…Then you will still be required to pay a tax ‘fee’ to the state, which is $65, and also submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check.“So truly, the only way it is any easier is by lower-ing the standard of train-ing and, in some cases, possibly allowing folks who aren’t proficient with a handgun to carry.”The permit will not be recognized in other states.“There is very limited reciprocity with this con-cealed permit, so it will not be recognized outside of Tennessee,” Brooks said.” It also has further limitations on where the permit holder can carry.”The new law may lead to misunderstanding, added Brooks. “Another big issue is the confusion this law has caused,” he said. “This has now created two handgun permits for Tennesseans. Many do not understand that this is not a replace-ment for the current per-mit, or ‘enhanced’ permit, it’s a whole separate per-mit. The current permit, or enhanced permit, al-lows the holder to carry open or concealed, has reciprocity with 38 other states and also allows a little more options as far as where and how the per-mit holder may carry. The enhanced permit is still available and is what I would recommend to folks if they want to obtain their permit.”This permit offers a more comprehensive training program. “The training is in depth when it comes to the liability involved if someone is forced to de-fend themselves with a firearm, state law in re-gard to carrying a hand-gun, and it also gives the student hands-on instruc-tion in basic marksman-ship and safety,” Brooks said. “(Students) also get range time with profes-sional instructors who can help them with any basic training needs.”Brooks encourages in-dividuals seeking a permit to go through the Ten-nessee Handgun permit course. “Our right to keep and bear arms, does not mean we should take be-ing properly trained for granted, as it is not only our right, but our duty to be responsible gun own-ers for those around us,” Brooks said.“If our elected officials were truly concerned with making it easier for Ten-nesseans to get a handgun permit, there are two very easy solutions. The first being ‘Constitutional Car-ry’ as other states have, that requires no permit and only the ability to le-gally purchase and (pos-sess) a firearm to carry in public. The second would be to maintain the current requirements for being is-sued a permit and lower-ing the tax or ‘fee’ as it is called for the permit to be issued.”Currently the enhanced permit is $100 for an eight-year permit and $300 for a lifetime permit.“In summary, this new permit will still cost for training, the state will still tax your rights and you will still submit to being ngerprinted and have a background check,” Brooks said. The National Ri e As-sociation backed the new measure. The Tennessee Firearm Association op-posed it, contending that other states may refuse to acknowledge Tennessee’s existing handgun carry per-mits or only the new ones.