January 25, 2023
In many aspects, an 18-year-old in Tennessee is considered an adult and is recognized to have most of the same rights as an adult. For example, 18- to 20-year-olds can serve in the military, vote, buy a firearm and be tried as an adult in a court of law.
However, Tennessee has forbidden adults below the age of 21 from applying for or being issued a concealed carry permit—until now. In response to a lawsuit filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), the State of Tennessee has agreed that its under-21 handgun carry ban violates the Second and Fourteenth amendments. The state will now begin processing carry applications for 18- to 20-year-olds. In the lawsuit Beeler v. Long, the FPC argued that under the Heller and McDonald decisions, the right to keep and bear arms is protected for all adults, not just those over 21.
“Plaintiffs wish to exercise their fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to carry loaded, operable handguns on their person, outside their homes, while in public, for lawful purposes including immediate self-defense,” the complaint read. “But they cannot because of the laws, policies, practices and customs that Defendants have been and continue to actively enforce today.
“The State of Tennessee prohibits a certain class of law-abiding responsible citizens—namely, adults who have reached the age of 18 but are not yet 21—from fully exercising the right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed them under the Second Amendment.”
The lawsuit was filed two years ago, but just this week a joint motion to enter agreed order was signed by all parties. The motion referenced the recent decision in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen, which was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court since the lawsuit was originally filed
“The Challenged Scheme regulating the possession and carrying of handguns that restricts individuals aged 18 years old to 20 years old from carrying handguns or obtaining permits to carry handguns on the basis of age alone violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,” the motion states. “Defendant and his officers, agents, employees, and all others acting under his direction and control, are permanently enjoined from implementing or enforcing the Challenged Scheme to prevent individuals aged 18 years old to 20 years old from carrying handguns or obtaining permits to carry handguns on the basis of age alone.”
The agreed upon order also stipulates that no later than 90 days from the date of the order the state must begin processing enhanced handgun carry permit applications and concealed handgun carry permit applications received from individuals aged 18 to 20 years old who otherwise qualify for such a permit.
About the Author
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for over 20 years.
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