Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Tennessee handgun carry permit below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether permits include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, permit duration, permit costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry Permit Basics

Tennessee is a shall-issue state. The Department of Safety & Homeland Security issues concealed weapons permits at the state level. Shall-issue means licensing authorities in Tennessee are compelled to issue a permit as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law. There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.

Tennessee prohibits the possession of a firearm “with the intent to go armed.” However, as of July 1, 2021, a law was passed creating a statutory “exception.” The exception allows permitless open and concealed carry for anyone that is at least 21 years old or older that may lawfully possess a handgun, is in a place where the person has a right to be and meets three additional criteria. In addition, two levels of concealed handgun carry permits were created. Applicants may obtain a concealed handgun carry permit (HCP) by taking a 90-minute online course. An enhanced handgun carry permit (EHCP) requires completion of an 8-hour live training course from certified instructors and allows permittees to carry a gun openly or concealed to more places.

In terms of reciprocity, Tennessee honors all concealed carry permits from other states. Handgun carry permits are valid for eight years.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the Permit Requirements in Tennessee?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old or 18 for active duty, retired or honorably discharged members of the military
  • Have completed an approved firearms 8-hour safety course within the last 12 months for enhanced HCPs or a 90-minute online course or equivalent for a concealed HCP
  • Be a resident of the state of Tennessee
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent residency
  • Not have renounced their United States citizenship
  • Not be an illegal alien or unlawfully in the United States
  • Not have a felony conviction and not currently under indictment for a felony
  • Not have a charge pending for domestic violence and never have been convicted of domestic violence
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not have been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions
  • Not have an order of protection or a restraining order filed against him or her
  • Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance or controlled substance analogue
  • Not be a patient in a rehabilitation program and not have been hospitalized for alcohol, controlled substance or controlled substance analogue within 10 years (if court ordered) or 3 years (if voluntary)
  • Not have had two convictions for DUI in 10 years, with one of those being within the last 5 years
  • Not currently be under the jurisdiction of the court for a DUI or any other class A misdemeanor conviction
  • Not have been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to/or hospitalized in a mental institution
  • Not had a court appoint a conservator for them by reason of mental defect
  • Not have been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of mental illness, development disability or other mental incapacity
  • Not have been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm because of mental illness within 7 years from the date of application
  • Not have been convicted of stalking and have no pending charge(s) for stalking
  • Not be receiving social security disability benefits by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability
  • Meet federal law requirements

*Consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your eligibility. If you don’t have an attorney, you can find one by contacting the State Bar of Tennessee.

Do I Need Firearms Training in Tennessee?

Handgun courses must be certified by the Tennessee Department of Safety and must have been completed within the last 12 months. A component 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.

How Do I Get an Enhanced Concealed Handgun Carry Permit (EHCP) in Tennessee?

Step 1: Complete the application online.

Step 2: Complete a training course, if required.

Step 3: Go to a Driver Services Center. You will need the following:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or residency
  • Photo ID: Tennessee driver’s license, state ID card, proof of full SSN
    • If you do not currently have a Tennessee driver license, you must submit two proofs of Tennessee residency with your name and resident address – NO P.O. BOXES (Documents must be current and within last four months.)
  • Pay the fee.

When your application is processed at the Driver Service Center, you will be given instructions on being fingerprinted.

Step 4: You will be notified if your application has been approved.

How Do I Get a Concealed Carry Permit (CHP) in Tennessee?

Step 1: Apply online or in person at a Driver Services Center.

Step 2: Provide proof of identity (proof of full SSN) and permanent residency.

  • Be a resident of Tennessee.
    • If you do not currently have a Tennessee driver license, you must submit two proofs of Tennessee residency with your name and resident address. (Documents must be current and within last four months.)

Step 3: Have a photograph taken.

Step 4: Provide Proof of demonstrated competence with a handgun by a training or safety course (a minimum 90-minute online course will be made available) taken within one year of application along with a CCP Proof of Training form.

Step 5: Pay the $65 fee.

Once the transaction is complete, the examiner will provide you with the instructions for being fingerprinted.

For more information, visit the USCCA Tennessee gun laws page now…


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.