TN moves to make carry permits cheaper, last longer

Two bills winding through the state legislature could drop the prices for both regular and lifetime concealed carry permits and extend their renewal period.

One measure, which passed a subcommittee vote in the state House last month, would drop the cost of lifetime permits from the current $500 down to $200. A second, which passed the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Wednesday, would drop the initial application fee on standard permits from $115 to $100, but extend their valid period from five years to eight.

Fiscal notes associated with the bills disclose that, should both be adopted as written, the state could stand to gain an estimated $7.2 million per year by slashing the cost of the lifetime permits, as it is expected more standard permit holders will opt for the higher one-time cost.

The analysis does note that after 2021, the state would likely lose an estimated $300,000 per year when compared to current figures moving forward as this side effect plateaus.

However, the state may well be able to afford the loss.

The Tennessee Firearms Association, citing records obtained from the Department of Safety showing the state has run a $17.5 million surplus between 2008 to 2014 from revenue earned from permit applicants versus expenditures spent to manage the licensing scheme, argue the change is long in coming.

“Tennesseans should not be charged at all for simply wanting to exercise a fundamental, constitutionally protected right to carry a firearm for self-defense and its probably a good sign when the government finally admits that it has been knowingly and substantially overcharging citizens for permits which the state requires before those citizens can even exercise their constitutionally protected 2nd Amendment rights,” TFA Executive Director John Harris said in a statement emailed to Gun.com.

The Volunteer State could further see more guns carried legally without a permit, as a measure to bring constitutional carry is also tracking through the legislature. Until then, the permit cost reductions are set for continued committee hearings.