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Basic Carry Laws: Tennessee


Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed Americans. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in Tennessee below.

Getting a Permit

Open carry is legal in Tennessee with an enhanced Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit (EHCP) or for a non-resident with a concealed carry permit. It is also allowed without a permit if the gun is unloaded and the ammunition is not in the immediate vicinity. The minimum age for open carry is 18 years old.

Concealed carry is legal with a valid concealed carry license or permit from any state, as Tennessee honors permits from all states. The minimum age is 21 years old or 18 for members of the military. There are two levels of carry permits. An applicant may obtain a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit (HCP) by taking a 90-minute online course or equivalent. An Enhanced HCP (EHCP) requires completion of an 8-hour live-training course from a certified instructor and authorizes a permittee to carry a gun openly or concealed to more places than with an HCP. A non-resident can only obtain an HCP if he or she works in Tennessee on a regular basis and holds a valid concealed carry permit in his or her home state. Stun guns, Tasers and pepper spray are allowed to be carried for self-defense since all are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Permits are not required when buying a handgun, and there is no firearms registration in Tennessee. No background check is required when buying a handgun from a private individual. There is also no mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases or magazine capacity restrictions. Ammunition containing a bullet with a hollow-nose cavity that is filled with explosive material and designed to detonate upon impact is banned in Tennessee.

Where Can One Carry?

In terms of locations where a concealed handgun may be carried, anyone who is not otherwise prohibited from owning a firearm may concealed carry or openly carry a handgun in a motor vehicle, restaurants that serve alcohol (unless posted and provided the carrier doesn’t consume alcohol) and places of worship (unless posted and provided the area is not being used for school purposes).

Other areas where EHCP holders or permit holders from other states can carry concealed are:

  • Roadside rest areas
  • State/national parks
  • State/national forest
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • School, college and university properties

Locations where carry is prohibited, even for enhanced HCP holders, include:

  • Any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress
  • Any penal institutions where prisoners are quartered
  • Day-use areas, campgrounds and other developed recreational lands on Tennessee Valley Authority property
  • Any meeting on a property owned by an individual, business or government (if posted)
  • Any place while consuming alcohol or when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Secured areas of airports as well as additional areas that may be posted
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal or state law or regulation

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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