Legal Information: Tennessee

State Gun Laws

May 18, 2022

I have a protection order against the abuser. Can s/he have or buy a gun?

Under Tennessee state law, if you have a protection order that was issued by a state civil court against the abuser and meets federal law requirements, the abuser cannot have a gun in his/her possession, or buy a new gun.1

In order for your protection order to qualify under federal law, the abuser must:

  • be served notice of the court hearing;
    • have an opportunity to attend the court hearing; Note: The abuser does not have to be at the hearing, but s/he has to have the opportunity to come to the hearing;
  • be an “intimate partner” of the victim, which includes:
    • a current or former spouse;
    • a person with whom you share a child; or
    • a person you live with currently or have lived with in the past.2

If your protection order has expired, it is no longer a valid order under federal law, which means the firearm ban also does not apply.

If any of these situations apply to the abuser, it may be illegal for him/her to have a gun. Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, may restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 TN ST § 39-17-1316(a)(1)
2 18 USC § 921(a)(32)

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