Legal Information: Tennessee

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
November 9, 2021

What is the penalty for violating state firearm laws?

    It is a Class A misdemeanor if someone carries a handgun in a place that is open to the public and one or more people are present. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, a fine up to $2,500, or both.1 A person who carries a firearm commits a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a fine up to $50, or both. A second or subsequent violation is a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine up to $500, or both.2 However, if the following three things are true, then these two acts described above are not illegal:

    1. the person is:
      • at least 21 years old; or
      • the person is at between18 and 21 years of age and:
        • is honorably discharged or is a retired veteran of the United States armed forces;
        • is honorably discharged from the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve, and has successfully completed a basic training program; or
        • is a member of the United States armed forces on active duty status or is a current member of the army national guard, the army reserve, the navy reserve, the marine corps reserve, the air national guard, the air force reserve, or the coast guard reserve and has successfully completed a basic training program;
    2. the person lawfully possesses the handgun; and
    3. the person is in a place where the law allows him/her to be.3

    A person is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor if s/he:

    • has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921;
    • is, at the time of the possession, subject to an order of protection that fully complies with 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8); or
    • is prohibited from possessing a firearm under any other state or federal law.4

    Someone who carries a firearm and has been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon commits a Class B felony, which is punishable by between eight to 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. Someone who carries a firearm and has been convicted of a felony drug offense commits a Class C felony, which is punishable by between three to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.5

    A person who possesses a handgun and has been convicted of any felony is guilty of a Class E felony, which is punishable by one to six years in prison, a fine of up to $3,000, or both.6

    A person who carries a firearm is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine up to $500, or both, if s/he:

    • has been convicted of stalking;
    • has been convicted of the driving under the influence two or more times within the past ten years or one time within the past five years;
    • has been declared by a court to be a “mental defective” or was committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution by the court, or had a court-appointed conservator due to a mental defect; or
    • is otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm by 8 U.S.C. § 922(g).7

      1 TN ST §§ 39-17-1307(a); 40-35-111(e)(1)
      2 TN ST §§ 39-17-1307(a)(1); 40-35-111(e)(3)
      3 TN ST § 39-17-1307(g)
      4 TN ST § 39-17-1307(f)(1), (f)(4)
      5 TN ST §§ 39-17-1307(b); 40-35-111(a)(2), (a)(3)
      6 TN ST §§ 39-17-1307(c); 40-35-111
      7 TN ST §§ 39-17-1307(h); 40-35-111(e)(3)

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