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Tennessee Gun Laws

Tennessee Gun Laws



Over the past ten years, Tennessee’s gun laws have experienced substantial changes, reflecting the state’s commitment to upholding Second Amendment rights while addressing evolving perspectives on public safety. From concealed carry to background checks, these developments underscore Tennessee’s dedication to responsible firearm ownership. This article provides an overview of the key updates in Tennessee’s gun laws and regulations from 2013 to 2023, presented in bullet points:

2013 – Enhanced Background Checks for Concealed Carry:

   – Strengthened background checks for concealed carry permit applicants, focusing on mental health evaluations and criminal history reviews.

2014 – “Guns in Parks” Law Enactment:

   – Adoption of laws allowing individuals with valid handgun carry permits to carry firearms in state parks.

2015 – Enhanced Penalties for Gun Crimes:

   – Introduction of legislation enforcing stricter penalties for individuals convicted of gun-related crimes.

   – Aims to deter illegal firearm use and promote public safety.

2016 – Enhanced Mental Health Reporting:

   – Strengthened reporting of mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

   – Aims to prevent firearm access by individuals with mental health concerns.

2017 – Campus Carry Consideration:

   – Exploration of potential laws allowing individuals with valid handgun carry permits to carry firearms on college campuses.

2018 – Firearm Storage and Child Access Prevention Laws:

   – Enactment of laws promoting responsible firearm storage and holding adults accountable for securing firearms from children’s access.

2019 – Enhanced Reporting on Lost or Stolen Firearms:

   – Strengthened laws requiring firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within a specific timeframe.

2020 – Enhanced Background Checks for All Sales:

   – Exploration of potential legislation to require background checks for all firearm sales, including private transactions.

2021 – Enhanced Oversight of Firearms Dealers:

   – Strengthened regulation and oversight of firearm dealers to ensure responsible sales practices.

2022 – Firearm Waiting Period Discussion:

    – Discussion about implementing a mandatory waiting period for firearm purchases to allow for comprehensive background checks.

2022 – “Constitutional Carry” Enactment:

    – Adoption of “constitutional carry” laws allowing individuals to carry firearms without a concealed carry permit.

2023 – School Safety Measures Enhancement:

    – Exploration of potential measures to enhance school safety, including resource officers or armed personnel.

2023 – Enhanced Reporting on Mental Health and Firearm Access:

    – Exploration of ways to improve the reporting and evaluation of mental health records in relation to firearm background checks.

2023 – Firearm Training and Safety Initiatives:

    – Introduction of initiatives promoting firearm safety education and training among gun owners.

    – Emphasis on responsible practices and handling.

Tennessee’s gun laws have evolved over the past decade, reflecting the state’s commitment to responsible firearm ownership and community safety. These changes demonstrate Tennessee’s proactive approach to firearm regulation. As the state continues to adapt its laws, it remains crucial for stakeholders, policymakers, and the public to engage in informed discussions that prioritize individual rights while maintaining community security.

Tennessee gun control laws are considered to be some of the least-restrictive in the United States. No permit is required to purchase a firearm per the state’s gun control laws. Any person aged over 18 years is eligible to purchase a firearm, as long it is classified as a shotgun or rifle.
A minor may acquire a firearm on the basis that the weapon is given on loan under permission by an adult, and for the purposes of hunting, camping, or other legal sporting activity involving firearms. However, as per gun purchasing laws referring to acquisition of a handgun, the purchaser must be subject to approval pending a criminal history background check conducted by the Bureau of Investigation of the state, and administered by the licensed dealer at the time of the handgun purchase.
Furthermore, the licensed dealer must include the purchaser’s pertinent information, as well as the weapons make, model, caliber, and manufacturer’s number, which are necessary in completing the background check.
If the applicant is void of any criminal history that disqualifies him from being able to make the handgun purchase, the bureau issues the dealer a special approval number, and the buyer is responsible for fee up to ten dollars for the background check itself. A background check is not necessary for any transactions between dealers and manufacturers, or between dealers and members of law enforcement.
Gun control laws of Tennessee allow for the possession of firearms without a permit. Those immediately disqualified from possession are convicted felons involving crimes of a violent nature or drugs.
Handguns are also restricted to adults over the age of 18 years, unless the minor possesses such a weapon for the purpose hunting and other sports; this includes practicing at an authorized location, while the minor is attending a safety or instruction course, or if found in justified situation to use deadly force for the preservation of him/herself or others. The carrying of firearms is generally considered illegal by the state gun control laws. The carrying of concealed handguns is permissible only by the furnishing of license to carry.
The only exemptions are if the person is at his/her place of residence or business, the firearm is unloaded and ammunition is not readily reachable or available, while hunting or sports-related activities, protection of livestock, or in self-defense. If the person is carrying or found in possession of a handgun because of an action of self-defense during an act of crime by a perpetrator, that person is considered a victim, and thus will not be charged of unlawful possession or carrying. An an application for a license to carry is made to the Department of Safety.
An applicant must be a resident of the state of Tennessee and at least 21 years old. Fingerprints and photographs of all applicants are required. Pending a background check, a qualified applicant may receive the license to carry within 90 days of the date of application. Individuals restricted or disqualified from consideration to carry a concealed weapon include:
     Those prohibited or disqualified under state gun law or federal junctures to be in possession of a firearm.
     Convicted of a crime punishable by a year or more of prison time.
     Is not considered to be an addict of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances.
     Has not been convicted of two or more DUI charges within ten years by any state.
     Is not a legal resident of the United States.
     Convictions of domestic violence on file.
Licenses to carry a concealed weapon by another state will be respected and acknowledged as long as the carrier has the license on their person while carrying the weapon. It is generally prohibited to carry a weapon in public places, unless the person is in law enforcement or military and on active duty.
Certain local regulations will further restrict the open carry of weapons by posting signs on the premises. Any person found with a handgun while hunting during an archery-only season will also be considered as carrying a weapon illegally.