Tennessee Constitutional Carry

Tennessee Constitutional Carry

In recent years, the debate surrounding gun laws and the right to carry firearms has been a topic of significant interest. Tennessee, like many states in the United States, has undergone changes in its gun laws to address these concerns. In this article, we will explore the concept of “Constitutional Carry” in Tennessee, its history, requirements, and implications for residents and visitors alike.

Understanding Constitutional Carry

Constitutional Carry, also known as permitless carry or unrestricted carry, refers to the right of individuals to carry firearms openly or concealed without the need for a government-issued permit. In Tennessee, this concept has gained traction and has been a matter of intense discussion among lawmakers and citizens.

Legislative Approval

On July 1, 2021, the Tennessee state legislature approved Constitutional Carry for residents who meet specific criteria. To carry firearms without permits, individuals must be at least twenty-one years old and meet all requirements for an enhanced gun license in the state. Additionally, they must not have any federal or state prohibition against possessing firearms.

Military Personnel and Enhanced Carry

Active members of the military and those honorably discharged, aged eighteen or older, are also allowed to possess firearms without permits in Tennessee. These provisions recognize the service and dedication of military personnel, granting them the right to bear arms.

The Shall-Issue Policy

Tennessee operates under a “shall-issue” policy for gun applications. This means that individuals who meet the requirements are entitled to receive the requested permit. The state Safety and Homeland Security Department processes these licenses.

Purchasing Firearms

Unlike some states, Tennessee does not require a criminal background check or firearm registration for purchases from gun shows or private dealers. This lessens the bureaucracy involved in obtaining firearms.

See also  Tennessee Hunting

Possession of Firearms

Before the implementation of Constitutional Carry, open carry in Tennessee was limited to those with enhanced gun permits. However, individuals without permits could still open carry if their firearms were unloaded and not near ammunition. Possession of firearms with the intent to harm oneself or others is strictly prohibited.

Concealed Carry Requirements

Before July 2021, concealed carry in Tennessee required residents to have a state gun permit or non-residents to possess permits and licenses from states recognized by Tennessee. The minimum age for concealed carry was twenty-one, with exceptions for military personnel aged eighteen or older.

Tennessee Constitutional Carry Reciprocity

Tennessee has permitless constitutional carry allowing residents 21+ to concealed carry without a permit. However, Tennessee permits are still available and provide reciprocity with other states

Different Gun Permits in Tennessee

In 2020, Tennessee introduced two levels of gun permits: a regular permit and an enhanced permit. To obtain a regular permit, applicants must complete a one-hour and 30-minute firearm training course. However, an enhanced permit requires an eight-hour live firearm training session from approved instructors, allowing holders to carry firearms in more places.

Non-Resident Permits

Non-residents working regularly in Tennessee can apply for regular permits after six months of employment in the state. Additionally, Tennessee accepts gun permits from every state and region in the US.

Possession of Firearms in Vehicles

Tennessee permits both open and concealed carry of firearms in private vehicles, as long as there are no prohibitions against firearm possession in the state or federally. The state also allows enhanced permit holders and those with licenses from recognized states to possess firearms in roadside areas.

See also  Tennessee Open Carry

Firearms in Specific Locations

Tennessee law allows individuals with pistol permits to carry firearms in State Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Management Areas. However, firearms are prohibited in certain places such as public schools, universities, prisons, and courthouses.

Application Process for Gun Permits

To apply for a gun permit in Tennessee, individuals must complete an online application or visit their local sheriff’s office. Applicants must complete the required firearm training, submit identification documents, and pay the relevant fees. The processing period typically takes ninety days.

Requirements for Gun Licenses

Applicants for gun permits in Tennessee must meet several criteria, including age restrictions, residency, citizenship, and mental health conditions. They must not have any criminal records, protection orders, or substance abuse issues.

Uniformity of Constitutional Carry Laws

Tennessee practices preemption gun laws, which means that the state government’s regulations apply uniformly across all parts of the state. Local municipalities and counties are prohibited from creating gun laws that contradict the state’s laws.


Constitutional Carry has changed the landscape of gun laws in Tennessee, allowing certain individuals to exercise their Second Amendment rights without permits. The state’s shall-issue policy, multiple permit options, and recognition of military personnel’s rights contribute to its unique approach to firearm regulations. While Tennessee embraces Constitutional Carry, it also maintains restrictions in specific locations to ensure public safety.


Q1: Can I carry a firearm without a permit in Tennessee?

Yes, as of July 1, 2021, Tennessee allows Constitutional Carry, allowing eligible residents to carry firearms openly or concealed without a permit.

Q2: Who is eligible for Constitutional Carry in Tennessee?

See also  Tennessee Gun Laws

Residents who are at least twenty-one years old and meet the requirements for an enhanced gun license are eligible for Constitutional Carry. Military personnel aged eighteen or older are also eligible.

Q3: Can non-residents carry firearms in Tennessee?

Non-residents working in Tennessee can apply for a regular permit after six months of employment in the state. Tennessee recognizes gun permits from all states and regions in the US.

Q4: What is the application process for gun permits in Tennessee?

To apply for a gun permit in Tennessee, complete the online application or visit your local sheriff’s office. Attend the required firearm training, submit identification documents, pay the relevant fees, and undergo a fingerprint check.

Q5: Can a non-resident of Tennessee carry a gun?

Yes, non-residents can legally open carry or concealed carry in Tennessee provided they have a valid concealed handgun license from their home state that Tennessee honors. No Tennessee-issued permit is required.

Q6: Does North Carolina recognize Tennessee concealed carry permit?

Yes, North Carolina has full recognition and reciprocity for valid Tennessee concealed carry permits. TN permit holders can concealed carry in NC as permitted by Tennessee law. The reverse is also true.

Q7: Are gun laws the same throughout Tennessee?

Yes, Tennessee practices preemption gun laws, ensuring that regulations are uniform across all parts of the state. However, local areas can regulate firearm use in specific locations for safety reasons.

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