Tennessee’s Lifetime Handgun Permits… not for you yet

Tennessee’s “Lifetime Handgun Permits”

In 2016, some Tennessee legislators worked hard to reduce the cost for standard and lifetime handgun permits.  Some did this, TFA believes, because they realized that the state had been making a large profit on the handgun permit scheme and they were attempting to reduce those costs because of that. Others, TFA believes, sponsored or supported fee reduction legislation to reduce the “pressure” to enact constitutional carry or, because it was an election year, to be “on the board” with what some might classify as a pro-2nd Amendment vote.

For whatever the motives, a couple of laws changed in 2017 regarding the handgun permits.  One change was to alter the basic initial fee from $115 to $100.  A second change was to make the permit’s duration 8 years.  The renewal cost remained $50.

However, a second law reduced the cost of the “lifetime” permits from $500 down to $200.  That means, if you want to get a lifetime permit on an initial application the cost will be the base fee of $100 plus the additional lifetime fee for a total of $300.  The other change was that at renewal a person could opt to pay $200 for a lifetime permit rather than $50 for an 8 year renewal.   If you do the math (not using common core), a lifetime renewal of $200 means that you would need to live 32 additional years are the imputed annual rate for the lifetime permit to break even – otherwise the state gets the windfall.

Now, there are some additional facts about the lifetime permit and the regular permits that Tennesseans need to understand to fully appreciate how the administration is willing to take advantage of us….

1) A Tennessee permit, including a lifetime permit, is only good so long as you have Tennessee as your state of residence.  If you move out of state, even for a brief period, say for example to do a medical internship or for an extended job reassignment, the state will take the position that your Tennessee permit, even your lifetime permit, terminated when you established residency in another state.  If you move back to Tennessee before your permit expires (or during your lifetime) or during the renewal grace period, you can have it reissued if you apply and pay an additional fee.  So a Tennessee lifetime handgun permit terminates when you move outside of the state, even if you return, but a Tennessee lifetime hunting license does not.  Makes sense, right?

2) If you already have a Tennessee handgun permit, can you apply now for a lifetime permit?  According to the Department of Safety, no.  You will not be allowed to apply for a lifetime permit – even if you already have a permit – until your existing permit is within 6 months of expiring or unless it has already expired.  You cannot even just go apply for a “new” permit – TDOS will reject that effort.  Perhaps what you can do is move to Kentucky, notify the state that you have a new residence out of state and surrender your existing permit, then move back to Tennessee and apply for a new one (but if you try this TDOS may instead force you to reinstate the old one rather than seek the new lifetime permit).

So, Tennessee’s legislature passes a fee reduction in lifetime permits.   However, the Haslam administration takes the position that perhaps most of the roughly 600,000 Tennesseans who already have permits are ineligible for it – at least until their existing permits are ready to expire.  That sounds reasonable, right?

Folks, this is just another reason that extreme care must be exercised by the legislature in drafting laws that the Haslam (or other) administrations are going to then “interpret” and “implement”.

More importantly, it is a compelling reason why the Tennessee legislation must be forced to enact Constitutional Carry in 2017 and to take as much of the power and responsibility over the remaining optional handgun permitting system away from the Department of Safety and perhaps give it to another state agency with more “customer service” in mind, like perhaps the TWRA….

If you want to help us move to get rid of gun free zones, to enact constitutional carry, and to push back against an unwilling legislature and an uncooperative administration, please consider this request to  join, renew and support the Tennessee Firearms Association.  Asking for your support of TFA is a call to action both financially and, more importantly, a call to affirmative action of individual engagement in a real battle for the restoration of our rights.

If you are ready to make the commitment to fight for our rights in 2017, please join and support TFA today and get ready because the fight for our rights is certainly not a spectator sport.

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