Tennesseans would be allowed to openly carry guns without a permit under a bill passed Tuesday in the state Senate.
If the House also approves the bill, carry permits would only be needed for concealed weapons, thereby making it legal for most anyone to walk around with a gun proudly displayed in a holster.
In years past, lawmakers fought long and hard over details that seem small by comparison, like whether gun owners can be fired for having one in their car outside their workplace. This spring though, the open carry proposal flew largely under the radar, getting less than 20 minutes of discussion in Senate committees, before passing a floor vote 25 to 2 on Tuesday.
Senator Mae Beavers says more than two dozen states let people carry guns openly, without a permit, including in cars:
“People without handgun carry permits within these states regularly and frequently carry handguns openly and within a vehicle. Such activity has not caused increased danger to public safety or resulted in increased crime.”
Before reaching a floor vote in the state House, the bill still needs approval from a committee that postponed it without discussion yesterday. Open-carry backers worry it’s a tactic by what they called “weak-kneed” Republicans to stall and kill the proposal.