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Getting A Tennessee Handgun Permit Just Got Easier, Worrying Some Gun-Rights Advocates

Flickr/Creative Commons/James Case

A new gun law that will take effect January 1, 2020 in Tennessee has raised some concerns — even among gun-rights advocates.

Many are calling the measure unsafe because it drastically cuts the training required to get a handgun permit.

Jim Mauth, a firearm instructor in Franklin, is one of them.


“I’m a Second Amendment guy. You know, I’m ex-military,” Mauth told WPLN News in Nashville. “I’m a lifelong member of the NRA.”

But Mauth said he is concerned about the newly-created “enhanced handgun carry” permit. It allows people to forgo the 8-hour in-person training with instructors and replace it with a 90-minute online video.

Mauth called this new law “a bad idea.”

“I’ve had people come to our classes that have never held a handgun … and we take them in and by the end of the day they are both competent and confidence with a handgun,” Mauth said. “They can’t do that with a video.”

But, supporters of the law, like state Rep. Andy Holt, R-Dresden, say they trust people will go beyond just the video.

“I don’t believe in my opinion that huge numbers of people are just going to go out and — have taken this training online — and never seek out training or instruction on how to use the weapon.”

Holt says the law is meant to make it easier for people to exercise what he argues is their Second Amendment right.

“This is a process by which we are going to allow law-abiding citizens to register with the state to also have access to a right that inherently is their own, and in the process we are providing a certain amount of training to these individuals,” Holt said.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is Nashville Public Radio’s political reporter. Prior to moving to Nashville, Sergio covered education for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. He is a Puerto Rico native and his work has also appeared on NPR station WKAR, San Antonio Express-News, Inter News Service, GFR Media and WMIZ 1270 AM.
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