MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More than a year after Tennessee’s permitless carry bill was signed into law, State Senator London Lamar wants to roll it back in Shelby and Davidson counties.
Lamar (D-Memphis) says the current law is making both areas more dangerous.
“Right now, if you look at the data from many of our cities regarding violent crime and the use of guns, that number has increased and more violent crime has happened,” Lamar said.
She has introduced a bill to reinstate the handgun permitting requirement for only the two urban cores of the state. Rural areas would be excluded.
“Right now, our urban core has demonstrated that we are at capacity of not being able to handle such a free law when it comes to guns. Right now, cities have unique challenges that the rest of the state doesn’t have,” she said.
In April 2021, the permitless carry bill was supported by Gov. Bill Lee.
“We can protect law enforcement; we can protect our citizens and we can protect our second amendment all at the same time. That’s what we’re trying to do here,” Gov. Lee said at the time.
Still, several law enforcement agencies, including those in Memphis, opposed the law saying similar measures created more crime.
“I go back to 2013 when the Tennessee Legislature allowed handguns in cars and as people started following that law the unintended consequences were the number of guns stolen from cars has tripled since 2013,” said Memphis Assistant Police Chief Don Crowe.
“If you’re going to carry a gun and you’re going to openly carry a weapon, I just ask you to be responsible, go get some training,” said Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner.
Senator Lamar says her new bill is the right thing for Memphis.
“If you know how to use the gun that comes with the rules of taking a gun class. That’s it. If you are a law-abiding citizen, you can have your gun. This is not taking away or banning guns in any way,” she said.
Lamar admits convincing many of her colleagues to support her new bill won’t be easy, but she says she’s up for the challenge.