New Tn. Law Allows Gun Carry Permits Without Hands-On Training


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — A new Tennessee law takes effect tomorrow–one that only requires a 90 minute online video, instead of the 8 hour classroom training to obtain a handgun carry permit.

In Tennessee, applicants will now have two ways to get certified to carry a gun. The first is the current requirement of an 8 hour class, with a live fire component. It costs 100 dollars and allows open, or concealed carry.

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The second way is to watch a 90 minute video online, pass the test and pay a 65 dollar fee. That will only allow concealed carry.

Rep. Andy Holt, who sponsored the bill, says it allows people who didn’t have time for that 8 hour class, to legally carry a handgun.

“It’s a way to lower the barriers for individuals to, I think go ahead and be able to ascertain one of their constitutional rights, and that is the right to self protection,” said State Representative Andy Holt, (R) Tennessee, from District 76.

But some don’t like the idea of the lack of hands-on training for this new carry permit.

“I think that it is illogical for us to believe that individuals will ascertain this carry permit, this concealed carry permit and NOT seek training. And I would go on record and obviously say that I would encourage everyone to receive training,” said Rep. Holt.

Tammy Zirk operates ZirkOps training. She says that they will continue to offer the 8 hour classes. She says there are two ways to look at the new law.

“There are a lot of people out there, they’ve been shooting their whole life, they have good skills, good safety and manipulation skills, so for them, being able to go on line and take a 20 minute – 90 minute video and a test and get their permit, that’s great,” said Tammy Zirk, Co-Owner of ZirkOps Training.

But, Zirk says, there are others for whom it may not be such a good idea.

“But we have tons of people that come through our permit classes that have zero gun and safety skills, so hands on training in the class and on the range, even then it’s difficult to get them to a level that they can safely understand shooting and carrying their gun on their body or with them,” said Ms. Zirk.

If you do take the 90 minute video course, but need additional training, ZIRKOPS has a 3 hour basic handgun safety class that can get you up to speed.


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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at