Tennessee allows the use of firearms within the state only on account that every user must abide by gun statutes.

The state has restrictions for locations where you can use weapons and types of firearms for possession.

Therefore, you must understand these gun laws before you decide to open carry in Tennessee.

Tennessee Gun Laws Summary

Tennessee issues two types of permits for the possession of firearms in the state. They are a regular handgun permit and an enhanced permit.

The department of homeland and safety is in charge of the permit application, and Tennessee is a shall-issue state.

There are no licenses issued for the purchase of firearms in the state, and if you are not buying from a private dealer, you must undergo a criminal record check.

Is Open Carry Legal In Tennessee?

Yes. Tennessee does not prohibit the open carry of firearms for anybody that is at least eighteen years old, who does not have a prior prohibition against using firearms either at the state or federal level.

Also, the open carry of firearms in the state must come with no intention of causing harm.

Open Carry Law In Tennessee

Tennessee is a licensed open carry state, and if you have an enhanced handgun permit, you can open carry firearms without any issue.

However, the state restricts firearms like machine guns and antique weapons, except for officers of the law, military members, and federally licensed owners.

Tennessee Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoYesYou must have an enhanced permit to open carry handguns in Tennessee
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoRegistration of firearms for open carry is not a requirement in Tennessee.
Assault weapon for open carry.NoNoTennessee bans the regular use of assault weapons in the state except for very rare occasions
Magazine limitNoNoTennessee gun laws do not say anything about the magazine limits for firearms in the state.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredThere are no requirements to own a licensed firearm in the state except those that have a license to make use of high-end weapons.
Red flag lawNoNoTennessee does not have any red flag law policy or the issue of an extreme risk protection order in the state.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesTennessee has castle doctrine law with no duty to retreat in dwelling places, workplaces, and personal vehicles.
Background check for private dealersNoNoPrivate dealers of firearms in the state do not have any requirement to complete a background check.
PreemptionYesYesTennessee preempts gun laws with the state government reserving all rights to enact and control the use of firearms in all jurisdictions. However, there are facets of gun laws that local municipalities can regulate for public safety within their boundaries.
Concealed carry permit.NoYesYou can conceal carry in Tennessee with either of the state’s concealed carry permits.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesYou can conceal carry in a private car or any property that you own.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoThe state prohibits open carry and possession of firearms in schools, their facilities or anywhere hosting educational events organized by school managements

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Tennessee?

Tennessee allows open carry in the following parts of the state:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry and possess firearms in restaurant areas as long as there is no post restricting firearms, and you are not under the influence of alcohol.
  • Private cars: You can open carry in your car.
  • Roadside areas: You can open carry and possess firearms in roadside areas of Tennessee as long as you have the permit to do so.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry in the state forest and parks as well as wildlife management areas.
  • Worship places: Open carry and possession of firearms in worship places are legal if there is no post prohibiting it.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Tennessee?

Open carry and possession of firearms are prohibited in the following parts of Tennessee:

  • Schools: You cannot open carry in schools and college premises. This also includes school facilities, school buses, and any place hosting a school event.
  • Courthouses: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any courthouse of the state or its political subdivisions.
  • Prisons and jails: You cannot possess firearms in Tennessee prisons and jails.
  • Campgrounds: You cannot possess firearms or open carry in recreational areas of the state.
  • Buildings with posts: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in any building or property that has a post restricting the possession of firearms.
  • Bars: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in a bar or any place while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Secured areas of airports: You cannot open carry or possess firearms in secured areas of an airport.
  • Prohibited areas: You cannot possess firearms in any area prohibited by federal laws of the state.

FAQs About Open Carry Tennessee

Some of Tennessee most frequently asked question about open carry and possession of firearms in the state include the following:   

Is It Compulsory That I Get A Permit Before Open Carry In Tennessee?

Yes. You need a Tennessee enhanced permit to open carry in the state.

Do I need A Permit To Conceal Carry In Tennessee?

Yes, you can either apply for the state handgun permit or an enhanced permit to conceal carry in the state.

Can I Use The State Permit For Both Open And Concealed Carry In The State?

If you have an enhanced permit, you can conceal and open carry with it in Tennessee.

How Many Types Of Firearm Permits Does Tennessee?

Tennessee issues two types of permits for possession of firearms in the state, namely Handgun permits and enhanced handgun permits.

Non-residents employed in Tennessee can use the handgun permit to conceal carry in the state.

Enhanced permits allow the open carry of firearms and concealed carry in more places in the state.

What Is The Age Requirement For Open Carry In Tennessee?

You must be at least eighteen years old to open carry in the state.

What Is The Ae Requirement For Concealed Carry In Tennessee?

The age requirement for concealed carry in Tennessee is twenty-one years old.

At What Age Can I Apply For Tennessee Firearms Permits?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for the permit and eighteen years old if you are a member of the United States Armed Forces.

Is Tennessee A Red Flag Law state?

No. Tennessee gun laws do not say anything about red flag law or the issuance of an extreme risk protection order for members of the military in the state.

Is Tennessee Firearm Permit Valid for Non-residents?

Only non-residents that have permanent employment in Tennessee can apply for the basic handgun permit.

Tennessee also honors permits from other states in the country.

Is Tennessee A Constitutional Carry State?

No, constitutional carry is not permitted in Tennessee.

Does Tennessee Allow The Open Carry Of Knives In The State?

No. Tennessee gun laws permit the open and concealed carry of knives in the state as long as there is no intention to attack anyone or commit a felony crime with it.

However, the possession of knives is illegal in places where firearms are unlawful in the state like schools, courthouses, etc.

Does Tennessee Restrict The Use Of Some Firearms In The State?

It is unlawful to make use of firearms such as machine guns, semi-automatic weapons, and antique firearms in the state.

The only exceptions are:

  • Law enforcement officers or members of the military
  • Display for museums.
  • Theatrical performances.
  • Federally licensed people.

Do I Need A Purchase Permit to Buy Firearms In Tennessee?

No. Tennessee does not issue purchase permits to buy firearms.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In Tennessee?

It is compulsory to complete the NICS criminal background check before buying a firearm from a state or federally licensed dealer.

Exemptions to this part of the law include the transfer of firearms between family members or buying from a private dealer.

Note that none of Tennessee firearm permits exempts you from completing the criminal record background check.

What Is The Age Requirement To Buy Firearms In Tennessee?

You must be at least eighteen years old before you can buy a firearm in Tennessee.

When Will Tennessee Firearm Permit Expire?

Your permit is valid for eight years, after which you have to renew it.

When Can I Start The Renewal Process For Permit Application In Tennessee?

You can start the renewal process six months before the expiry date.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In Tennessee?

No, the state law does not oblige anyone to inform a law enforcement officer about the possession of firearms if they come across one.

Does Tennessee Have A Castle Doctrine Policy?

Yes, you have to stand your ground against an attack in your home of residence, personal business, or private car.

Can I Make Use Of Deadly Force During Self Defense In Tennessee?

Yes, you can make use of deadly force if you believe that an attack from an intruder can lead to severe injury or imminent death to yourself or a member of your family.

Must I Undergo Firearm Training Before Applying For A Permit In Tennessee?

Yes, and the training varies depending on the type of permit for which you are applying.

For the basic handgun permit, you must complete ninety minutes online training, and for enhanced permits, you must complete an eight-hour training course conducted by a state-certified instructor.

Is It Compulsory To Register Firearms After Purchasing In Tennessee?

No, Tennessee gun statutes do not require the registration of firearms after purchase in the state.

How Long Will It Take To Get My Tennessee Firearm Permit After Registration?

The processing period for the permit is ninety days.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In Tennessee

Tennessee gun laws that concern open carry in the state include the following:

Ammunition Restrictions

It is a prohibition to make use of hollow-nose bullets that have explosives in them,

You will face prosecution for the manufacturing, selling, and buying of such ammunition in the state.

No Weapon Sign

Tennessee enforces no weapon sign in the state. Any building regardless of the owner can make use of these signs in locations that are visible to people coming into the premises.

Therefore, it is a prohibition for anyone to disobey such a sign anywhere in the state.

The post must have either of the following:

  • A phrase that says, “no firearm allowed” boldly inscribed with size between the range of one-inch-high and eight inches in width.
  • A pictorial sign with a firearm in a circle and a diagonal line running across it. The size must be at least four by four inches. The diagonal line running across the image must be run from the top left corner to the bottom right corner at an angle of forty-five degrees.

It is a prohibition for any local municipality to restrict any concealed carry permit for the possession of firearms in properties or buildings, except ones with posts or metal detectors.

However, this does not include public areas like libraries, schools, courthouses, etc.

Anybody that violates this section of the law commits a class B misdemeanor crime and must pay a five hundred dollars fine.

Preemption Gun Laws In Tennessee

The state government has all authority to control the use of firearms in the state. However, local municipalities can regulate the use of firearms in the following ways:  

Possession and regulation of firearms by employees of local government based on their type of employment.

Restriction and prohibition of firearm discharge within local boundaries.

Brandishing Of Firearms

Anybody that uses firearms to threaten another person or cause a violent situation is guilty of an offense and can face prosecution.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

You cannot make use of firearms while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance in the state.

Additional Resources

Tennessee Gun Laws
Tennessee Concealed Carry Laws
Tennessee Gun Permit Laws

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