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Knoxville Mayor: Proposed permitless handgun carry bill 'is a step in the wrong direction'

Mayor Indya Kincannon is urging Tennessee lawmakers to vote 'no' on a proposed permitless gun carry bill.

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon is opposing a proposed bill that would allow law-abiding Tennesseans over 21 years old to carry a handgun without a permit.

Governor Bill Lee announced the bill last week, saying it would also increase penalties for those who steal or unlawfully carry a firearm.

RELATED: Gov. Bill Lee announces bill to allow Tennesseans to carry handgun without permit if over 21 years old

Mayor Kincannon issued a statement Wednesday speaking out against the proposed legislation, saying she feels it "makes Knoxville residents and all Tennesseans less safe" and said Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas shared those concerns.

"I have experienced gun violence first hand, as have too many Knoxville residents. I support the right for law-abiding Tennesseans to own guns, but I also support common sense measures like requiring permits to publicly carry handguns, training and guidance for safe storage to keep our children protected," she said. 

Mayor Kincannon also urged state legislators to vote against the proposed legislation, saying it's a "step in the wrong direction." 

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs supports Lee's proposed measure, according to Rob Link, his communications director.

RELATED: Lawmaker files resolution that would make TN a 2nd amendment 'sanctuary' 

John Harris the Tennessee Firearms Association's said they were 'cautiously optimistic.' 

"We support eliminating as a criminal liability matter the need to have state mandated training in part because the training that’s required is poorly designed. The current training is a six hour PowerPoint presentation with hundreds of slides, and you know people just fall asleep watching that thing. It doesn’t do anything to meaningfully train anybody," he said.

Others, such as Jodi Scheer of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, were disappointed by Governor Lee's announcement. 

"Permitless carry allows anyone to have a gun in any space anywhere without any sort of training or education about responsible gun ownership," Scheer said. 

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