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Editorial: What should be the legal age to carry a handgun?

by Associated Press | May 10, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.


By The Associated Press

The Tennessee House recently passed a bill aimed at lowering the age at which residents could legally carry handguns, either open or concealed, from 21 to 18.

It's companion in the Senate remained stuck in a subcommittee until the General Assembly completed its session last week, so the proposed legislation won't become law for now.

Over the past few years, however, lawmakers have enacted several laws expanding who can carry guns in the state and where and when they may carry them, so there's a chance the bill could return when the next session convenes in Nashville.

During statewide debate on the age limit to carry, proponents said those 18 years of age are legally considered adults, and not allowing them to bear arms violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Individuals 18 and older who join the military are trained and allowed to carry firearms, too, so who's to say one subset of teens are responsible enough and others are not?

Opponents of the bill said many teenagers are not ready for the responsibility of carrying handguns and said lowering the age may hurt the reciprocity -- the acknowledgement of Tennessee's carry permits by other states -- afforded to current gun owners.

It's a public safety issue that is likely to be revisited, so we thought we'd put the question to our readers. What should be the legal age to carry a handgun? Are 18-year-olds ready for the responsibility? Are adults' Constitutional rights being infringed with the limit at 21? How would you change Tennessee's gun laws if given the chance?


Print Headline: Editorial: What should be the legal age to carry a handgun?

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