Dear Gov. Lee and Members of the Tennessee General Assembly,
As Tennesseans, we have shown great resilience and strength while enduring so much in the past year, from a global pandemic to extraordinary and deadly weather events. Yet, instead of trying to address these issues and help those of us who have struggled so much, many in our Legislature along with Governor Lee, are instead working hard to pass a law that would allow anyone to be able to carry a firearm without going through the current steps to get a permit first.
As Christians, we believe no matter where anyone lives in the state, we deserve to live safely without gun violence, and that it is our moral obligation to stand for legislation that keeps our communities safe. Any legislation seeking to undercut the current permitting system is dangerous and demonstrates a moral failing.
Our current permitting system ensures that proper background checks and safety training are done before an individual can carry a firearm in public. It is imperative that we maintain the existing permitting system to prevent further tragedy in our state. Studies have shown that states that have weakened their firearm permitting system have experienced an 11% increase in handgun homicide rates and a 13-15% percent increase in violent crime rates. And a majority of non-gun owners and gun owners across the political spectrum agree that high safety standards are an essential part of the concealed carry permitting system.
It is our hope and prayer that you will do whatever you can as an elected leader to help reduce the number of lives lost. We urge you vote against any permitless carry bills, and maintain the public safety standards our current permitting system affords.
Your name with clergy and people of faith across Tennessee
1 Michael Siegel et al., “Easiness of Legal Access to Concealed Firearm Permits and Homicide Rates in the United States,” American Journal of Public Health 107, no. 12 (December 1, 2017): 1923–29,
2 John J. Donohue, Abhay Aneja, and Kyle D. Weber, “Right-To-Carry Laws and Violent Crime: A
Comprehensive Assessment Using Panel Data and a State-Level Synthetic Control Analysis,” NBER Working Papers (National Bureau of Economic Research, November 2018),
3 Daniel W. Webster et al., “Concealed Carry of Firearms: Fact vs. Fiction” (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Gun Policy and Research, November 16, 2017), https://bit.ly/2QJr2Mi.