Gov. Bill Lee’s permitless carry bill set to bolster penalties for stealing guns
Joel Ebert and Natalie Allison, The TennesseanPublished 10:04 a.m. CT Feb. 27, 2020 | Updated 7:04 a.m. CT Feb. 28, 2020
Standing in a building that prohibits guns while surrounded by dozens of Republican lawmakers, Gov. Bill Lee announced Thursday plans to introduce legislation that would let Tennesseans carry handguns without first obtaining a permit while increasing penalties for illegal gun possession and thefts.
The governor’s sudden support for such legislation is a reversal from his previous public statements, a significant departure from his predecessor and a signal of Tennessee’s tilt toward the more conservative wing of the Republican Party.
“The Second Amendment’s clear and concise and secures the uninfringed right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” Lee said inside the Old Supreme Court chamber at the state Capitol in Nashville. “Today, I’m announcing that we will be joining 16 other states in this nation by introducing a constitutional carry law in the state of Tennessee.”