Tennessee Senate OKs bill allowing gun owners to carry weapons openly without permit

Tennessee Senate OKs bill allowing gun owners to carry weapons openly without permit

April 8th, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

Screen shot of the Tennessee Senate vote tally board for a bill allowing any gun owner to carry a handgun openly with no need for a state-issued permit so long as they are not legally barred from owning a firearm.

NASHVILLE - State senators today overwhelming approved a bill allowing any gun owner to carry a handgun openly with no need for a state-issued permit so long as they are not legally barred from owning a firearm.

The bill passed 25-2.

The House version remains in the chamber's Budget Subcommittee, and its prospects of getting through the House remain uncertain.

Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, the bill's sponsor, told senators that "requiring Tennesseans to pay for and obtain a permit to publicly carry a handgun in all forms, including openly and while in a motor vehicle - current Tennessee law - converts the right to carry a handgun into a privilege."

Existing state law requires a handgun-carry permit to carry a gun, whether it is "open carry" or concealed. To obtain a permit, applicants must undergo a criminal background check, take a firearm safety permit and pay a license fee.

Those requirements appear to remain in place for conceal carry but would not apply to "open carry."

Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, is the bill's House sponsor.