AG opinion: New Tennessee law lets felons have antique guns

In this Sept. 9, 2019 file photo, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, with a bipartisan group of state attorneys general speaks to reporters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee’s attorney general says a new state law allows felons to have antique guns.

An opinion last week by Attorney General Herbert Slatery’s office says the law removed a ban on guns manufactured before 1899, certain replicas and black powder-using muzzleloaders for people convicted of felonies or certain misdemeanors.

The bill passed this year without any state lawmakers voting against it. The change took effect in May.

Federal law doesn’t prohibit felons from having antique guns. But a 2015 state attorney general’s opinion concluded that Tennessee law generally prohibited it.

Republican bill sponsor Sen. Kerry Roberts requested the legal opinion. He says the antiquated weapons do not use modern ammunition and said his research found they are seldom if ever used to commit a violent crime.

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