Tennessee bill looks to lower concealed permit carrying age to 18

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is offering handgun safety classes before Tennessee's new...
The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is offering handgun safety classes before Tennessee's new permitless carry law goes into effect.(WMC)
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 6:39 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 28, 2022 at 6:56 AM EST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Teenagers could soon be allowed to carry concealed handguns if one Tennessee representative’s bill makes it through the legislature.

The bill would lower the concealed handgun carry permit age from 21 to 18.

City and legislative leaders have concerns that this will increase violent crime and give people easier access to guns.

On the other hand, the lawmaker behind the bill says he wants 18, 19 and 20-year-olds to have the same rights and opportunities as those 21 and older.

Republican Tennessee Representative Chris Todd is sponsoring House Bill 1735.

“We expect and acknowledge that 18-year-olds have the maturity level and the responsibility level to join the military and carry a M-16 and a sack of grenades with them,” said Representative Todd. “If we think 18-year-olds have enough maturity and responsibility for that then I firmly believe they also have that same level of maturity and responsibility to be able to purchase and carry a handgun.”

Todd believes the current law infringes on the rights of those who want to carry.

Not everyone agrees.

Shelby County Democratic Representative G.A. Hardaway says the state’s permit less carry law allowing people to carry a handgun without a permit or training, is to blame for gun violence on Memphis streets.

“People will die,” said Representative Hardaway. “People will get injured, and it’ll be because we made weapons more easily available and put them in the hands of young folks who are not capable of managing their emotions and their impulses.”

Hardaway believes HB 1735 would make things worse.

In an exclusive interview Thursday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told Action News 5 easier access to guns has had a negative impact on the city.

“The more you loosen the restrictions, the more you allow guns to be out there, the more they’re going to get in the hands of people you don’t want to have guns, and then everyone just expects the police force to magically take care of it even though state law has allowed them to proliferate throughout our city,” said Mayor Strickland.

The bill is currently assigned to the Civil Justice Subcommittee. Action News 5 will provide updates on the bill.

You can read House Bill 1735 here.

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