GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — A ceremony was held at Beretta USA's Tennessee campus to celebrate the "constitutional carry" law passed through the state legislature this year.
While the law was a priority this year for Gov. Lee, it received criticism from numerous groups, including law enforcement over concerns it would increase crime. However, supporters claim they're supporting Second Amendment rights.
"Today is a day that singles and win for law abiding citizens in Tennessee. It also singles a win for preserving the second amendment in our state," said Lee," Starting July 1st, law abiding citizens from Tennessee will be able to carry a handgun in our state without unnecessary permission from the government."
The legislation was officially signed into law in early April. The law allows military members aged 18 to 20 and adults 20 and older to carry open or concealed handguns without a permit. It goes into effect on July 1.
Additionally, the law will increase punishments for certain gun crimes; the theft of a firearm will be increased from a misdemeanor to a felony and will come with at least six months in jail.
"The right to bear arms it’s just important today as it was 230 years ago. With today’s signing, Tennessee becomes the 19th state in the country to have Constitutional Carry as a part of its law," Lee said.
On Wednesday afternoon, Lee joined Francesco Valente, Beretta USA's president and CEO, Lt. Governor Randy McNalley, Senator Jack Johnson, House Majority Leader Rep. William Lamberth in a ceremonially signing of the law at the facility in Gallatin.
The law does come with criticism from gun violence prevention organizations.
"I’m really disappointed in Governor Lee and our elected representatives with signing this bill into law," said Jessie McKinney, "I’m disappointed in the way they dismissed valid concerns from Tennesseans about this law, and I’m disappointed that they chose not to listen to the very, real concerns of multiple law-enforcement agencies as well," she said.
McKinney is a volunteer for Moms Demand Action’s Tennessee chapter, an advocacy group fighting to end gun violence.
"It is too late unfortunately to change the legislators minds about permit-less carry, and we presented evidence throughout the general session about the very real, and valid concerns that we and law enforcement had about the safety of this bill," McKinney said, "What this means is July first we’re going to have more Tennesseans carrying loaded handguns in public without any safety training."
McKinney says the responsibility to keep guns out of the wrong hands will fall on the gun owners.
Watch the ceremony below: