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Tennessee Gun Control Laws

Tennessee Gun Control Laws at a Glance

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of U.S. citizens to own firearms, but states are free to establish certain limits to how guns are purchased and carried. While Tennessee gun control laws are relatively mild, the state requires background checks for gun purchases from licensed dealers and has some other limited restrictions. Tennessee no longer requires a 15-day waiting period for gun purchases.

The main provisions of Tennessee's gun control laws can be found in the following chart.

Code Section 39-17-1301, et seq.
Illegal Arms Machine gun; short-barreled rifle or shotgun; silencer; explosive weapon; device designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon
Waiting Period None
Background Check The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation charges a $10 fee on every firearm purchase in order to conduct a background check.
Who May Not Own 1. Convicted of felony (imprisonment exceeding 1 yr.) unless pardoned or conviction expunged; 2. Fugitives from justice; 3. Unsound mind; 4. Minors; 5. Addicted to alcohol; 6. Drug addict; 7. Convicted of illegal sale of alcoholic beverages
Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds Misdemeanor or Felony. 39-17-1309

Note: State laws are constantly changing. So while FindLaw is constantly updating state laws to reflect these changes, you may want to contact a Tennessee criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Who May Not Own Guns in Tennessee?

Since guns are designed specifically to take the life of an animal or another human, the state recognizes certain situations where gun ownership is prohibited. In Tennessee, you may not own a firearm if you:

  1. Were convicted of a felony resulting in more than one year of prison time (unless pardoned or expunged);
  2. Are a fugitive from justice;
  3. Are of unsound mind (insanity);
  4. Are a minor (under 18);
  5. Are addicted to alcohol or drugs; or
  6. Were convicted of illegal alcohol sales.

Open Carry and Concealed Carry Provisions

Tennessee issues permits for the concealed or open carry of handguns, but not loaded long guns. However, an individual is free to carry a loaded handgun or long gun in their car without a permit as part of the expanded "castle doctrine" self-defense law.

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