Tennessee May Allow Gun Carry for 18-Year-Olds

(RepublicanNews.org) – After a gun rights group sued Tennessee Governor Bill Lee over a law that allows residents 21 and older to carry handguns in public without a permit, that age may go down to 18 depending on the outcome of a settlement.

The gun rights organization sued in 2021 because, it argued, the age should be lowered to 18, the legal age of majority for most, but not all, rights and privileges of adulthood.

In late 2022, Tennessee’s Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti chose not to defend the law, but to propose a settlement. That settlement proposed to allow those 18 and older to carry guns in public without permits.

The move to settle may have been motivated by a recent Supreme Court decision that came down on the side of citizens’ rights to carry guns. In June of 2022, the high court ruled that US citizens have a right to carry guns in public for self–defense.

In a rebuke to gun control proponents who want to elevate their ideas about public safety above the Constitution’s Second Amendment, the Court ruling said that is not allowed. The ruling advised lower court judges reviewing gun laws to guide their decisions only on whether the law is consistent with the Constitution and the “historical tradition of firearm regulation.” Claims that gun control laws enhance public safety or that they serve some other interest are irrelevant and may not be used in deciding such cases.

This has resulted in confusion in the courts and among public officials as they try to adjust to a legal landscape that does not allow “public health” arguments to decide issues of Constitutional rights.

But for AG Skrmetti, there is little confusion. His proposed settlement states that Tennessee’s restriction of gun-carrying to those 21 and older violates the 2nd and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

Some Republican lawmakers are not satisfied to leave the issue to a court settlement. They want clear legislation protecting gun owners’ rights.

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