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State's proposal to lower age limit for concealed carry could affect reciprocity with 21 states

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Posted at 8:12 PM, Mar 02, 2022

The Tennessee House Civil Justice Committee has discussed a proposed bill that could open up the pool of those who can obtain concealed carry permits in that state. The proposed legislation could potentially affect reciprocity agreements regarding concealed carry of firearms with at least 21 other states.

For perspective, last year more than 17,000 permits were issued in Tennessee.

The proposed bill would essentially lower the age limit for concealed carry permits. Currently, if you are at least 21 years old or are 18 to 20 and meet military requirements, you are eligible in the state of Tennessee. The bill would remove the military requirements and make it 18-years-old and up across the board, depending on criminal background.

For clarity, being 18 does not mean you would automatically get a permit.

"If the applicant is at least 18 years of age and is not prohibited from possessing a firearm in this state...or any other state or federal law, and the applicant otherwise meets all of the requirements of this section, the department shall issue a permit to the applicant," the bill says.

If the bill is passed and becomes law, there could be potential consequences when it comes to reciprocity agreements with other states. A Department of Safety representative testified before a legislative committee last month and said this could potentially make Tennessee lose reciprocity with up to 21 states that do not allow people to carry at that younger age.

State Rep. Chris Todd, R-Jackson, who is a sponsor of the bill, said the bill simply gives more rights to younger adult Tennesseans.

"All this does is remove an infringement that we currently have on 18 to 20-year-olds that are legal adults, that have the ability and the right to cast a vote for you and I and others running for office, they not only have the ability, but the duty to sign up for selective service and get drafted and join the military," Rep. Todd said.

If the bill passes into law, it would go into effect on July 1.

This story was originally published by Cole Johnson of WTVFin Nashville, Tennessee.