Tennessee Gun Laws

Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in Tennessee.

In Tennessee, adults can purchase and openly carry a gun without a license. However, you must obtain a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed gun in your car or on (or near) your body. For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Tennessee.

How to Obtain a Safety Certificate or Concealed Handgun License in Tennessee

To obtain a safety certificate or concealed handgun license, you must apply at the city or town clerk’s office in the city or town where you live or have a place of business. Your local licensing authorities have the discretion to determine whether or not to issue you either (or any) permit. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 21 years
  • be qualified to possess a firearm under federal law
  • be a Tennessee resident
  • be a United States citizen or permanent lawful resident
  • submit fingerprints, photo identification
  • submit proof of successful completion of an approved handgun safety course, and
  • submit a $115 processing fee.

(Tennessee Code Ann. § 39-17-1351.)

Does Tennessee Recognize Concealed Carry Gun Permits From Other States?

Yes. Tennessee recognizes concealed handgun carry permits issued by other states, according to the terms of that state’s permit. However, not all states recognize permits issued in Tennessee. Furthermore, Tennessee has entered into reciprocity agreements with several states. In those cases, any conditions that the other state imposes on Tennessee residents are also imposed when that state’s residents carry concealed handguns in Tennessee. (Tennessee Code Ann. § 39-17-1351.)

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security website provides a list of states with reciprocity agreements with Tennessee.

Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit

It illegal to carry a loaded concealed weapon in Tennessee without a concealed carry license. Penalties for a first violation include a fine of up to $500, up to 30 days in jail, or both. A second or subsequent violation incurs a fine of up to $500, up to six months in jail, or both. (Tennessee Code Ann. § 39-17-1307.)

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Tennessee, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

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