More Legislation Goes Into Effect July 1
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
This information is provided by 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald, whose district includes Giles and five other counties.
Second Amendment Rights / Stronger Penalties for Gun Theft -- The General Assembly approved legislation during the 2021 legislative session allowing Tennesseans to carry firearms without a permit, while cracking down on criminals who steal guns or possess them illegally.
The new law allows law-abiding citizens in Tennessee who are 21 or are honorably discharged or active in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves to carry a firearm without a permit in a place.
Those who carry without a permit must have no felony convictions, orders of protection in effect, pending charges or convictions for domestic violence or stalking, or have been adjudicated as a mental defective.
In addition, individuals convicted of two DUI offenses in the last 10 or one in the last five years are not eligible, as well as of federal prohibitions which include illegal aliens and fugitives from justice.
The legislation also increases penalties for firearm-related crime to promote public safety including:
• Increasing the penalty for theft of a firearm to a Class E felony;
• Providing a sentencing enhancement for theft of a firearm in a car;
• Increasing minimum sentence for theft of a firearm from 30 days to 180 days; and
• Increasing sentences for unlawful possession of a firearm by violent felons and felony drug offenders, possession of a handgun by a felon, and unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or allowing a juvenile to possess a handgun.
Tennessee will still retain its carry permitting process for gun owners who take advantage of reciprocity to carry in other states and for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) exemption.
Protecting Gun Owners – "Similarly, a new law that I sponsored and passed this year protects gun owners by preventing a state or local entity from creating a registry to keep record of who possesses firearms in Tennessee," Hensley said.
It defines “registry” as a record of possession or ownership by non-governmental individuals or entities and provides that violation of this measure would result in a Class E felony and a loss of state funding for the following fiscal year and subsequent years that the violation occurs.
Firearm Information Privacy Protection Act – A new law protects the anonymity of citizens related to firearm ownership.
It creates a Class E felony for any public personnel that intentionally discloses information about an owner of a firearm to a federal firearms registry or confiscation of firearms.
In addition, the legislation creates a private right of action. The measure will act as a buffer between Tennessee and the federal government’s unconstitutional and invasive attempts to prohibit citizens from protecting one’s life, liberty and family.
Safety of Firearms – Legislation incentivizing the safe storage of firearms passed. The new law exempts sales taxes on gun safety devices and safes for one year beginning July 1, 2021. The legislation aims to encourage gun owners to create a safer environment for children and hopefully prevent heartbreaking tragedies that might occur if a firearm is stored improperly.
Hunting and Fishing Licenses – State lawmakers passed legislation benefitting those who purchase hunting and fishing licenses.
The new law implements a true 365-day annual sport license to be issued by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).
Previous law required issuing all annual sport licenses for the year beginning March 1 and ending the last day of February of the following year.
This legislation instead requires that all annual licenses and permits relating to wildlife expire 365 days following the date of issuance. The measure will help individuals purchasing a license for a particular season, like Dove season, which opens Sept. 1 from having their license expire only a few months later, rather than enjoying the full year before expiration.
Hensley may be reached at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville Tenn., 37243, by calling 615-741-3100, calling toll-free at 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100, or by faxing 615-253-0231.
His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald Tenn., 38462. He may be reached at 931-796-2018, by cell phone at 931-212-8823. His E-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org