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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State Address in Nashville on Feb. 8, 2021.Mark Humphrey / AP

GOP reps ease gun restrictions in several states following shootings

In response to mass shootings, some look for ways to prevent future massacres, while others look for ways to scale back the restrictions already in place.


Recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado have renewed the debate over massacre-prevention measures, and at the federal level, President Joe Biden took new steps yesterday to address gun violence he described as "an epidemic" and "an international embarrassment."

Elsewhere in the nation's capital, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who's retiring next year, told Politico he hasn't yet given up on advancing some kind of gun safety legislation in this Congress.

But at the state level, Republican officials appear to be moving in the opposite direction. Two weeks ago in Georgia, for example, the GOP-led state legislature took up measures designed to make Georgia's gun laws even less restrictive.

A few days later, the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a law "allowing people to buy and carry handguns in Iowa without a permit, fulfilling a longtime goal of gun rights advocates."

And yesterday, the list grew a little longer. The Tennessean reported:

Tennessee is officially one of 19 states where permit-less gun carry will be the law. Gov. Bill Lee on Thursday signed a bill allowing most adults to carry a handgun without a permit, an effort that was at the top of his legislative agenda for the year.... It allows people 21 and older to carry handguns openly or concealed without a permit, along with members of the military ages 18 to 20.

In a statement celebrating the measure, the Republican governor thanked the Republican-led legislature for approving his priority -- while also thanking the National Rifle Association.

In response to deadly mass shootings, some look for ways to hopefully prevent the next gun massacre, while others look for ways to scale back the restrictions already in place.