State to state comparison: Open carry laws

(WBIR) A majority of states in the United States allow gun owners to openly carry in public without a permit. Now, Tennessee is looking to do the same.

The Senate passed the Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act on Tuesday.

Currently in Tennessee, a permit is needed to carry a firearm concealed or open. Under the new law, a permit would still be required for gun owners who plan to conceal their weapons.

Although the laws are not exactly the same, 29 states allow open carry without a permit.

A similar law has been in effect in Kentucky since at least 1975, according to Harlan County Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.

"That's been (in effect) ever since I've been in law enforcement and this is my 44th year," said Colan Harrell, sheriff of Whitley County.

Sheriff Harrell does not believe it encourages crime or an increase in open carry.

"I've seen them carry weapons around, not that many. But I have seen it," he said.

Liston Matthews, a member of the Tennessee Firearms Association said some states have gone a step further.

"The state of Vermont has no permit requirement for any kind of carry, open or concealed," Matthews said.

There is a lot of debate over whether Arkansas does or does not allow open carry. An amended gun law from 2013 allows people who live in that state to carry a gun if they are on a "journey beyond the county in which the person lives."

But some argue that means open carry is legal without a permit.

WBIR's sister station THV11 in Little Rock reported in August 2013 Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the amended law does not mean open carry is legal.

At least six states do not allow open carry of any kind, including the following: California, Florida, Illinois, New York, South Carolina, and Texas. The District of Columbia also does not allow open carry, with or without a permit.

There have been attempts to weaken those gun laws.

The TN House Finance, Ways, and Means subcommittee is scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday.


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