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Tennessee Background Check and Gun Laws

Subject/Law
Long guns
Handguns
Relevant Statutes
Notes
State Permit to Purchase? No No None No
Firearm registration? No No None No
"Assault weapon" law? No No None No
Owner license required? No No None No
Carry permits issued? No* Yes T.C.A. 39-17-1351 Permits are "shall-issue". Concealed or open carry of a handgun is allowed with permit. *Loaded long gun carry is generally illegal. Those with a HCP may have loaded longs in a private vehicle so long as there is not a round in the chamber T.C.A. 39-17-1307(e) There are also other exceptions (like for hunting) listed in 39-17-1307
State Preemption of local restrictions? No No T.C.A. 39-17-1314 Tennessee is an anomalous State. The Legislature made a loop hole for cities and municipalities with laws in effect prior to April 8, 1986. The local ordinances in effect before April 8, 1986 preempt State law see TCA 39-17-1314(a). Local governments may post signs per T.C.A. 39-17-1359 to prohibit carry on government property, just like private property owners.
NFA weapons restricted? No No None On July 1, 2003 public chapter 275 is in effect. It requires the CLEO, chief law enforcement officer, to sign NFA paperwork in 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited from possessing firearms. see TCA 39-17-1361 .
Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.
Self-Defense Law T.C.A. 39-11-611 There is not duty to retreat before using deadly force, as long as you are acting lawfully and are in a place you have a right to be in. It is presumed you had a reasonable fear of imminet death or serious bodily injury if someone unlawfully and forcibly enters a residence, business, dwelling or vehicle.

Places off-limits even with a Handgun Carry Permit

Location
Relevant Statutes
Notes/Exceptions
Places open to the public that serve alcohol for onsite consumption T.C.A. 39-17-1305 This law was declared unconstitutional in November 2009. It is illegal to carry a handgun into a restaurant that serves alcohol for consumption on premisis.
Any room where a judicial proceeding is taking place T.C.A. 39-17-1306 If a proceeding is not taking place in a courtroom, then carry would be legal. If a judicial proceeding is taking place in any room, say a hospital room, then carry would be illegal
Schools T.C.A. 39-17-1309 Carry is legal (affirmative defense) if you are entering the property solely to pick up or drop off passengers and you do not remove, utilize or allow to be removed or utilized the weapon from the vehicle. T.C.A. 39-17-1310(4)
Somelocal Public Parks T.C.A. 39-17-1311 If you have a HCP carry in State and local parks is legal by default. However Local governments per 39-17-1311(d) may vote to make carry illegal in the parks under their control. If a local park is being used for a school activity, then it is off-limits per 39-17-1309 during the activity. Metro Nashville parks are off limits, but are not posted. See TN AG Opinions 09-129 & 09-160
Any area/building/property posted with a sign per 39-17-1359 T.C.A. 39-17-1359 The code says the wording of the sign must be visible and "substantially similar" to that used in the code not exact, however it has never been legally defined what substantially similar means. See TN AG Opinion 07-43

Tennessee State Constitution, Article I, Section 26, reads:
That the people have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have the power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.
 
State supreme court rulings and state attorney general opinions interpret Section 26 to mean regulation cannot and should not interfere with the common lawful uses of firearms, including defense of the home and hunting, but should only be aimed at criminal behavior. Andrews v State 1870 and Glasscock v Chattanooga 1928 defined the meaning of regulating arms. "Going armed", carrying any sort of weapon for offense or defense in public, is a crime, except carrying a handgun for defense is allowed with a state-issued permit. At one time, Tennessee required a purchase permit for a handgun approved by one's city police chief or county sheriff with a fifteen-day waiting period; that was replaced under the federal Brady Act with the Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS). Handguns in Tennessee are defined as having a barrel length of less than twelve inches see TCA 39-11-106.
 
 
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