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Tennessee Gun Laws

Tennessee Gun Laws Tennessee has very permissive gun laws. The state’s constitution maintains the right to bear arms, and Tennesse has enacted legislation that makes lawful firearms ownership a straightforward process. Tennessee does not require any kind of license or permit to obtain a firearm, and as a “shall issue” state, it is relatively easy to be issued a concealed carry permit.

Tennessee Gun Laws at a Glance

Concealed Carry Premit Required Yes
Open Carry Premitted Yes
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting No
Firearms License Required for Purchasing No
Universal Background Check No
Firearm Registration No
Large Capacity Magazine Ban No

Firearm License Requirements

No type of license is required to obtain a firearm in Tennessee.

Background Checks

Tennesse does not require background checks on firearms transfers through unlicensed sellers. Per federal regulations, any transferee buying from a licensed seller will be subject to a background check.

Gun Shows

Tennessee does not regulate gun shows.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons Not restricted
50 Caliber Rifles Not restricted
Machine Guns Prohibited.
Large Capacity Magazines Not restricted
Ammunition Explosive ammunition is prohibited.

Prohibited Persons

Tennesse prohibits the ownership or possession of a firearm by anyone:

  • Convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon
  • Convicted of a felony drug offense
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence (while remaining subject to the disabilities of such a conviction)
  • Possessing a firearm while subject to an order of protection
  • Under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance (this applies to handguns only)
  • Prohibited from possessing a firearm under any federal or state law

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Tennessee generally prohibits firearms on any public or private school grounds. This includes colleges and universities. This does not apply to firearms being used for school purposes or instruction.
Vehicles Tennesse permits any person, including those without concealed carry licenses, to carry a handgun in a vehicle that they own. None.

Concealed Carry Laws

Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Enforced
In-Vehicle Carry Permitted
Restaurant Carry Permitted
State Park Carry Yes

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Tennessee is a “shall issue” state. Any applicant who meets certain qualifications must be issued a concealed carry permit.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
  • Is 18 years of age or older
  • A concealed carry permit must be issued to any applicant who is:
  • A resident or “permanent lawful resident” of Tennessee
  • At least 21 years of age
  • Not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal or state law

  • Further, an applicant may be denied if he or she:
    • Has been convicted of or indicted for a criminal offense that is designated as a felony, or a misdemeanor for driving under the influence, stalking, or domestic violence. This may not apply to federal or state offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade or other similar offenses relating to the regulations of business practices
    • Is currently subject to any order of protection
    • Is a fugitive from justice
    • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance and has been a patient in a rehabilitation program or hospitalized for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or addiction due to a court order within ten years preceding the date of application
    • Has been a voluntary entrant in a rehabilitation program or hospitalized for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or addiction within three years preceding the date of application.
    • Has been convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in any state two or more times within ten years from the date of application
    • Has been adjudicated to be mentally defective
    • Has been committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution
    • Has had a court-appointed caretaker by reason of a mental defect
    • Has been judicially determined to be disabled because of mental illness, developmental disability, or any other mental incapacity
    • Has, within seven years from the date of application, been found to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm to self or others
    • Is an alien or is illegally present in the United States
    • Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions
    • Has renounced his or her United States citizenship
    • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
    • Is receiving social security disability benefits by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability
    • Has been convicted of any crime relating to stalking

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

TThe Tennessee Department of Safety (TDS) requires that applicants submit proof of the completion of a TDS-approved handgun safety course prior to obtaining a handgun license.

This safety course must include the effects of alcohol and drugs on a person’s judgment and ability to handle a firearm. Exemptions are generally granted for military personnel, law enforcement, and security guards.

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a concealed carry permit, you may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:

  • Any public school campus, grounds, recreation area or athletic field
  • Any private school building, campus, grounds, recreation area or athletic field
  • Any public or private school bus
  • Any religious institution if it is being used for school purposes
  • Municipalities can ban carry in parks if there is a school event taking place in the park; and
  • Any public institutions of higher education, except for employees who have provided written notification to the appropriate law enforcement agency (except in parking areas)
  • Any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress
  • Any penal institutions
  • Day use areas, campgrounds, and other developed recreational lands on Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) property
  • Any meeting on a property owned by an individual, business or government, if posted
  • Any place while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Secured areas of airports and wherever else posted
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.