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Tennessee Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

As a state that values its heritage and rights, Tennessee allows the use of firearms within its borders. However, this right comes with the responsibility of abiding by the state’s gun statutes and regulations. Whether you are a resident or planning to visit Tennessee, it’s essential to understand the state’s gun laws, especially if you are considering open carry. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of Tennessee’s gun laws, covering both open carry rights and restrictions.

Tennessee Gun Laws Summary

Tennessee offers two types of permits for firearm possession: a regular handgun permit and an enhanced permit. The application process is overseen by the Department of Homeland and Safety, and the state operates under a “shall-issue” policy. Notably, there are no licenses issued for firearm purchases, but if you are not buying from a private dealer, you must undergo a criminal record check.

Is Open Carry Legal In Tennessee?

Yes, Tennessee permits open carry of firearms for individuals aged eighteen and above who do not have prior prohibitions at the state or federal level. However, open carry must be done without any intention of causing harm.

Open Carry Law In Tennessee

Tennessee is a licensed open carry state, allowing individuals with an enhanced handgun permit to openly carry firearms without any issue. However, certain firearms such as machine guns and antique weapons are restricted, with exceptions for officers of the law, military personnel, and federally licensed owners.

Tennessee Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoYesRegistration for open-carry firearms is not required in Tennessee
Firearm registrationsNoNoRegistration for open carry firearms is not required in Tennessee
Assault weapon restrictionsNoNoTennessee bans the regular use of assault weapons, except in rare cases
Magazine limitNoNoTennessee gun laws do not specify magazine limits for firearms
License for firearm ownershipNot requiredNot requiredNo license is required to own firearms, except for high-end weapons
Red flag lawNoNoTennessee does not have any red flag law policy
Castle doctrine lawYesYesTennessee has a castle doctrine law with no duty to retreat
Background check for private dealersNoNoPrivate dealers are not required to complete a background check
PreemptionYesYesTennessee preempts gun laws, but local municipalities have some authority

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Tennessee?

Tennessee allows open carry in the following places:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can open carry in restaurant areas as long as there is no sign prohibiting firearms and you are not under the influence of alcohol.
  • Private cars: You can open carry in your vehicle.
  • Roadside areas: You can open carry in roadside areas as long as you have the permit to do so.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry in state forests, parks, and wildlife management areas.
  • Worship places: Open carry and possession of firearms are legal in places of worship without any prohibition signs.
See also  Minnesota Open Carry

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Tennessee?

Open carry and possession of firearms are prohibited in the following places:

  • Schools: Open carry is not allowed on school premises, school buses, or during school events.
  • Courthouses: Firearms are prohibited in any courthouse within the state or its political subdivisions.
  • Prisons and jails: Firearms are not allowed in Tennessee prisons and jails.
  • Campgrounds: Firearms are prohibited in recreational areas of the state.
  • Buildings with no weapon signs: Firearms are not allowed in any building with signs restricting possession.
  • Bars: Firearms are prohibited in bars or places while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Secured airport areas: Firearms are not allowed in secured areas of airports.
  • Areas prohibited by federal laws: Firearms are not allowed in areas restricted by federal laws.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In Tennessee

Tennessee has specific regulations related to open carry:

Ammunition Restrictions

The state prohibits the use of hollow-nose bullets with explosives. Manufacturing, selling, and buying such ammunition in Tennessee can result in prosecution.

No Weapon Sign

Tennessee enforces the use of “no weapon” signs on various premises. These signs must include specific phrases or pictorial representations to be legally effective. Disobeying such signs is prohibited and may result in penalties.

Preemption Gun Laws

While the state government has the authority to control firearm use, local municipalities have some regulatory powers, including possession and regulation of firearms by local government employees based on their type of employment. Local areas can also impose restrictions on firearm discharge.

See also  Massachusetts Open Carry

Brandishing Of Firearms

Using firearms to threaten others or cause a violent situation is considered an offense and can lead to prosecution.

Possession Of Firearms Under The Influence Of Alcohol

Using firearms while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance is not allowed in Tennessee.


Tennessee’s open carry laws offer citizens the freedom to bear arms responsibly. Understanding these laws and adhering to them is crucial for maintaining public safety while preserving individual rights. If you plan to open carry in Tennessee, make sure you are aware of the specific regulations in different areas of the state.


Q1. Is a permit required to open carry in Tennessee?

Yes, you need an enhanced handgun permit to open carry in Tennessee.

Q2. Can I open carry in restaurants and bars in Tennessee?

Yes, you can open carry in restaurants and bars as long as there are no signs prohibiting firearms, and you are not under the influence of alcohol.

Q3. Are there any restrictions on ammunition in Tennessee?

Yes, the state prohibits the use of hollow-nose bullets with explosives.

Q4. Can local municipalities impose additional firearm regulations?

Yes, local municipalities in Tennessee have some authority to regulate certain aspects of firearm possession and use.

Q5. What is the punishment for violating open carry laws in Tennessee?

Violating open carry laws can result in various penalties, depending on the nature of the violation.

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