Senate approves bill to allow open carry without permits

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Where and how Tennesseans carry their guns may soon be changing. Tuesday, the state Senate approved a bill that would open up gun rights in the state.

The current law requires a permit to carry a gun either concealed or out in the open. This bill would allow any Tennessean legally allowed to own a gun - to carry one as long it can be seen by others.

“You're going out hunting, you're going hiking, you're going someplace maybe you feel it's your right to carry a firearm, which it have that Second Amendment,” says Eric Matson with Tactical Advantage Corp.

Senate bill 2424 would remove the permit requirement and its training mandate for the open carry of a handgun in Tennessee.

To be considered open carry the gun would need to be in plain view of others, in a belt holster, on the streets and any place where guns aren't specifically banned. A permit and training requirements would only be in place for concealed carry.

Gun enthusiast, James Burns says, “I have a permit and when I carry one I still conceal it and the reason why I conceal it is because you get different reactions from different people."

State Senator Mae Beavers sponsors the bill. She says the legislation would bring Tennessee in line with a lot of other states.

“Requiring Tennesseans to pay for a permit to publicly carry a handgun in all forms including openly and while in a motor vehicle...current Tennessee law converts that right into a privilege.”

Some who agree with the right to bear arms, are still in favor of a permit.

“Everybody is going on the gun craze and there are a lot people that are purchasing and everything and they do not know what they're doing, they do not know how to handle a firearm,” says Burns.

The bill is awaiting review in subcommittee. State Senator Beavers expects the House to make a decision by the end of this week or the first of next week.

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