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opinion

By Briana Brady, Opinion Editor–

As of a couple weeks ago, Tennessee became the latest state to allow the large majority of those 21 and older to carry handguns without the need to pass a background check or go through any preliminary training–a law known as “Constitutional Carry.” Despite knowing how gun violence impacts our communities, states, and nations each day, Gov. Bill Lee expressed pride in making it easier for any Tennessean to obtain a weapon and carry it in concealed manner.

ABC News reported that “Supporters of the bill argued that the proposal includes harsher penalties for those who commit certain gun-related crimes, with the governor setting aside $17.7 million in his budget plan for the bill largely due to an anticipated increase in incarceration.” So, rather than promoting peace, non-violence, and measures of restorative justice, Bill Lee and many Tennessee legislators are excited about this law that will undoubtedly end up with guns in the wrong, untrained hands, and in addition, will result in huge state spending on keeping people behind bars.

In the same ABC News article, it is reported that law enforcement officials are largely against this bill because it will make it more difficult to distinguish between responsible firearm owners and those who shouldn’t be granted a weapon. Tennessee will join 18 other states in loosening their gun restrictions, which seems to come as a slap in the face to victims of gun violence across the country.

Although I have truly tried to wrap my mind around the opposite perspective on this issue, I simply do not understand the appeal of creating an evasion of background checks and permits. Those who desire to have a firearm should have to jump through hoops to prove they are capable of responsibly owning one, and background checks are the most basic of ways to begin that process. While I do not think that background checks go near far enough in maintaining gun safety and security, they seem like a reasonable measure that we all should be able to agree to.

I am truly nervous about the future of gun violence in this state and in this country should laws like this be expanded. Guns take far too many lives each day in this country, and it is time that we say enough is enough. Although this bill has been passed into law in Tennessee now, it is not too late to advocate against similar policies in other states. It is this generation’s responsibility to stand up against gun violence and commit to stronger measures of regulation all across this country. It can truly save lives.

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