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"I'm really just holding my breath on this" | Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner on permitless carry law

Sheriff Bonner outlined what the department is doing to help deputies and the public understand the new law.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner is breaking down how his department is changing how it does business when it comes to the new permitless carry law. 

The Tennessee law that went into effect July 1st removed the requirement to have a permit in order to carry a handgun.

Many in law enforcement worry the change will result in more guns on the streets, leading to more shootings.

"I am a licensed carrier," said Barbara Taylor.

Barbara Taylor knows because she has a carry permit, she can bring a gun into a park. Without a permit, it's not legal to possess a gun at a park. 

It's knowing those type of details about the law that concerns Sheriff Floyd Bonner.

"That's what I am really afraid of, people will not take the time to sit down, where you can and cannot learn what the law says," said Bonner.

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is making videos and holding citizen gun safety classes now that most people over 21 can purchase a handgun without a permit, although there is a list of types of people who are still prohibited from permitless carry, such as being convicted of a felony.   

Bonner said the change in the law is changing how his officers can do business when it comes to things like questioning people and probable cause.

"What we are having to do is teach our officers situational awareness now. Not only the officers, but the dispatchers as well, because no longer is someone walking down the street carrying a handgun against the law in the State of Tennessee," said Bonner. 

"We are doing tutorials on videos, roll call training, going over 'do's and don'ts' with our supervisors. They are paying special attention on the radio, to when our officers are calling in and coming into contact with people with weapons," said Bonner. 

He added, "We have a check list. All the officers have a checklist now of questions you can ask, the locations a person can carry a gun."

The Sheriff's Department has also put out leaflets reminding the officers and the public where handguns are not allowed, such has courthouses and schools.

"I'm really just holding my breath on this," said Bonner.

Bonner expects the department will use body camera footage from deputies for training to discuss when things go right or even wrong. 

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He also is encouraging the public to still apply for the carry permit so you can be properly trained in gun safety and laws.

Bonner has heard the arguments that removing the permit requirement will cause an increase in crime. His thoughts about that? 

"I don't have a crystal ball. I can't say if it will or won't, but the more guns on the street, the more potential for violence," said Bonner.

Below is this list of where handguns can and can't be carried and who cannot permitless carry. You can also find that HERE.