New law allows Tennesseans to apply for concealed carry permits online, hundreds apply

Posted at 6:48 AM, Jan 03, 2020

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Tennesseans are signing up for the newly-approved, online-only gun permit classes at a fast clip.

The new concealed carry permits would allow people to carry a concealed gun after taking an online class as short as 90 minutes. The permit differs from previously-issued carry permits, which allow both concealed carry and carrying the weapon in the open, such as in a holster.

The online classes were approved as part of a 2019 law passed by the Tennessee state legislature. The new law went into effect on Jan. 1.

As of Thursday, Clarksville Guns and Archery was one of only five locations in Tennessee offering the new online-only concealed carry permit class.

On Thursday alone — just the second day the law had been in effect — Clarksville Guns and Archery owner John McConnell says more than 700 people signed up to take his class, and more than 500 completed the course that day.

The state still requires an in-person class if a gun owner wants to open carry in addition to carrying a concealed gun. That permit, formerly called a "handgun carry permit," is now called an "enhanced handgun carry permit."

Those that already have a carry permit from years past don't need to do anything: those permits automatically converted to an enhanced handgun carry permit.

McConnell says while the approved courses teach about the states laws and different parts of the gun, it doesn't train gun owners how to shoot. That's something gun store owners say gun owners should seek out separately.

"It's kind of like going to the DMV to get your driver's license," McConnell said. "They're not going to teach you how to drive; they're going to test you on your driving abilities."

This story was originally published by Jason Lamb on WTVF in Nashville.