Citation(s) from the literature library

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2023 ‘Concealed Carry in Tennessee.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 22 September

Relevant contents

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Tennessee

Tennessee prohibits the possession of a firearm "with the intent to go armed." Persons with handgun carry permits are exempt. It is also a defense if the possession or carrying was at the person's place of residence, place of business, or premises.

Tennessee is a "shall issue" state, meaning that the Tennessee Department of Safety ("TDS") must issue a handgun carry permit if the applicant meets certain qualifications. TDS shall issue a handgun carry permit to any resident or "permanent lawful resident" of Tennessee who is at least 21 years of age and is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm under federal or state law. Handgun carry permits will not be issued to any person who:

- Has been convicted of a criminal offense or is currently under indictment or information for any criminal offense that is designated as a felony, or that is a disqualifying misdemeanor for driving under the influence, stalking, or domestic violence, except for any federal or state offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade or other similar offenses relating to the regulations of business practices;
- Is currently subject to any order of protection;
- Is a fugitive from justice;
- Is an unlawful user of or addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance and has been a patient in a rehabilitation program or hospitalized for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or addiction within ten years from the date of application;
- Has been convicted of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in this or any other state two or more times within ten years from the date of application and the convictions occurred within five years from the date of application or renewal;
- Has been adjudicated as a mental defective;
- Has been committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution;
- Has had a court-appointed conservator by reason of a mental defect;
- Has been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of mental illness, developmental disability or other mental incapacity;
- Has, within seven years from the date of application, been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm because of mental illness;
- Is an alien and is illegally in the United States;
- Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions;
- Has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
- Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in federal law;
- Is receiving social security disability benefits by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability; or
- Has been convicted of stalking.

Firearm Safety Training

TDS requires applicants to submit proof of successful completion of a TDS-approved handgun safety course as a prerequisite to obtaining a handgun carry permit. The qualifying course must include both classroom hours and firing range instruction. A component of the classroom portion of all department-approved handgun safety courses must be instruction on alcohol and drugs, the effects of those substances on a person's reflexes, judgment and ability to safely handle a firearm, and the Tennessee prohibition against possession of a handgun while under the influence. An applicant is not required to comply with the classroom hours and firing range provisions, however, if he or she submits proof to TDS that within five years from the application filing date, the applicant has:

- Been certified by the peace officer standards and training commission;
- Successfully completed training at the law enforcement training academy;
- Successfully completed the firearm training course required for armed security guards or officer registration; or
- Successfully completed all handgun training of not less than four hours as required by any branch of the military.

Permit holders are not required to complete a handgun safety course to maintain or renew a handgun carry permit, or to complete any additional handgun safety course after obtaining a permit. In addition, no permit holder is required to complete any additional handgun safety course if he or she applies for a permit renewal within six months from the date of expiration.

Duration & Renewal

Handgun carry permits are valid for four years. Permit holders may renew a permit by submitting a renewal application and a fee of $50.

Disclosure or Use of Information

TDS is required to make available to the public a statistical report that includes the number of permits issued, denied, revoked or suspended by TDS during the preceding month, listed by age, gender and zip code of the applicant or permit holder, and the reason for any permit revocation or suspension. The report must include the cost of the program, the revenues derived from fees, the number of violations of the provisions of the handgun carry permit law, and the average time for issuance of a handgun carry permit. By January 1 of each year, a copy of such statistical reports for the preceding calendar year shall be provided to each member of the Tennessee General Assembly.

TDS is also required to maintain statistics related to responses by law enforcement agencies to incidents in which a person who has a handgun carry permit is arrested for any offense.


Any handgun permit, firearm permit, weapons permit or license issued by another state is valid in Tennessee according to its terms and shall be treated as if it is a handgun permit issued by Tennessee. This provision shall not be construed, however, to authorize the holder of any out-of-state permit or license to carry any firearm or weapon other than a handgun.

The Tennessee Commissioner of Safety shall enter into written reciprocity agreements regarding the carrying of concealed firearms with other states that require the execution of such agreements. If another state imposes conditions on Tennessee permit holders in a reciprocity agreement, such conditions shall also become a part of the agreement and apply to the other state's permit holders when they carry a handgun in Tennessee…

[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]

ID: Q7636

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