Tennessee

Summary

Tennessee is not a traditional open carry state. However, Tennessee is a shall-issue state that issues a carry permit that allows both open and concealed carry.

State Constitution

Article I, Section 26

That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.

Minimum Age to Open Carry

No Statutory Limit

Preemption

Complete State Preemption of All Firearm Laws except those ordinances that were in effect at the time preemption was passed.

NOTE: Almost all states allow local regulation of the discharge of firearms

Open Car Carry

Firearms may be openly carried in cars only with a permit/license.

Private Sales

There are no restrictions on private sales, except that one may not knowingly sell a firearm to a prohibited person.

K-12 Carry

Prohibited except for permit holders who “enter[s] the property for the sole purpose of delivering or picking up passengers and who does not remove, utilize or allow to be removed or utilized any weapon from the vehicle.”

39-17-1309. Carrying weapons on school property.

(b) (1) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.

(2) A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class E felony.

(c) (1) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any firearm, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution. It is not an offense under this subsection (c) for a nonstudent adult to possess a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by the adult, or by any other person acting with the expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property.

(2) A violation of this subsection (c) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) (1) Each chief administrator of a public or private school shall display in prominent locations about the school a sign, at least six inches (6”) high and fourteen inches (14”) wide, stating:

FELONY. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF SIX (6) YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.

(2) As used in this subsection (d), “prominent locations about a school” includes, but is not limited to, sports arenas, gymnasiums, stadiums and cafeterias.

39-17-1310. Affirmative defense to carrying weapons on school property. 

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under § 39-17-1309(a)-(d) that the person’s behavior was in strict compliance with the requirements of one (1) of the following classifications:

(1) A person hunting during the lawful hunting season on lands owned by any public or private educational institution and designated as open to hunting by the administrator of the educational institution;

(2) A person possessing unloaded hunting weapons while transversing the grounds of any public or private educational institution for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting with the intent to hunt on the public or private lands unless the lands of the educational institution are posted prohibiting entry;

(3) A person possessing guns or knives when conducting or attending “gun and knife shows” and the program has been approved by the administrator of the educational institution; or

(4) A person entering the property for the sole purpose of delivering or picking up passengers and who does not remove, utilize or allow to be removed or utilized any weapon from the vehicle.

College Carry

Carry Prohibited by Statute

NOTE: Even if Legal, Students May be Subject to Academic Sanctions

Places Off-Limits

In any room where a judicial proceeding is taking place (39-17-1306)

Schools (39-17-1309 and 39-17-1310)

Some local public Parks and recreational property (39-17-1311)

Any Penal Institution (39-16-201)

Any place with a properly posted sign per (39-17-1359)

State Law

Tennessee Code

State Organizations

Tennessee Firearms Association

Local Ordinances

Legal Disclaimer

We make every effort to provide correct information on this site. However, the legal landscape surrounding open carry is fluid and subject to a myriad of political influences in the various states. Therefore, any and all information you glean from this site should be independently verified!

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