KNOXVILLE, TN (April 22, 2021) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) announced the filing of a new federal Second Amendment lawsuit on behalf of itself and three individuals, challenging the State of Tennessee’s laws that prevent law-abiding adults under age 21 from carrying a loaded firearm in public for self-defense. The case, Bassett v. Slatery, is the most recent addition to FPC’s strategic litigation program seeking to restore the right to keep and bear arms throughout the United States. The complaint can be viewed at FPCLegal.org.
Tennessee currently prohibits the public carrying of handguns by ordinary, non-exempt individuals unless they first acquire one of two types of permits. But the State’s laws require that applicants for those permits be at least 21 years of age. Earlier this month, Governor Bill Lee signed into law Senate Bill 765, establishing a new ‘permitless’ carry exemption, sometimes called “constitutional carry.” But even with those changes, the State completely denies the right to bear arms to all law-abiding adults under age 21, prohibiting the plaintiffs, and those similarly situated to them, from carrying loaded, operable handguns outside their home for self-defense, in violation of their Second Amendment rights.
“Tennessee’s statutory scheme unconstitutionally denies a large number of adults their fundamental, individual right to bear arms outside the home,” explained Adam Kraut, FPC’s Senior Director of Legal Operations. “The text of the Second Amendment makes clear that the right to keep and bear arms ‘shall not be infringed,’ and nothing in America’s history and tradition supports Tennessee’s laws banning carry by adults under age 21. This lawsuit seeks to vindicate the rights of our clients and restore individual liberty in Tennessee and beyond.”
The case was filed today in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, within the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. FPC has also filed lawsuits challenging similarly unconstitutional restrictions in California and Pennsylvania.
If you are interested in participating in a pro-rights lawsuit, please visit FPCPlaintiff.org. To report a violation of your Second Amendment rights, you can contact FPC’s legal team at 2AHotline.com. Likewise, if you would like to become a member of the FPC Grassroots Army and support important lawsuits and advocacy efforts, you can become a member for just $25 at JoinFPC.org.
Firearms Policy Coalition and its FPC Law team are the nation’s next-generation advocates leading the Second Amendment litigation and research space. Some FPC legal actions include:
- A challenge to the federal ban on the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition to adults under 21 years of age (Reese v. ATF)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Bianchi v. Frosh)
- Challenge to California’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” (Miller v. Calif. Att’y General)
- A challenge to Maryland’s ban on handgun carry (Call v. Jones)
- A challenge to New Jersey’s ban on handgun carry (Bennett v. Davis)
- A challenge to New York City’s ban on handgun carry (Greco v. New York City)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s ban on handgun carry by adults under 21 (Lara v. Evanchick)
- A challenge to California’s handgun “roster”, microstamping, and self-manufacturing ban laws (Renna v. Becerra)
- A challenge to Pennsylvania’s laws completely denying the right to carry to individuals who were previously granted relief from prior non-violent convictions and are not currently prohibited from possessing firearms (Suarez v. Evanchick)
Firearms Policy Coalition (firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend constitutional rights—especially the right to keep and bear arms—advance individual liberty, and restore freedom through litigation and legal action, legislative and regulatory action, education, outreach, grassroots activism, other programs. FPC Law is the nation’s largest public interest legal team focused on Second Amendment and adjacent fundamental rights including freedom of speech and due process, conducting litigation, research, scholarly publications, and amicus briefing, among other efforts.