Legal Referral Service of the Chattanooga Bar Association

Legal Info

Guns

Though many families in Tennessee already own guns and other weapons, state law says that you must be 18 years old to purchase rifles or shotguns on your own. Now that you’re 18, the law recognizes that with age comes some degree of wisdom and you have been entrusted with the responsibility of owning potentially deadly weapons.

If you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a gun and think that now that you’re 18 you’re free and clear, not so fast. There are still some legal stipulations you must contend with. First off, you’re not yet old enough to buy a handgun.Federal law says you must be 21 or over before you are legally allowed to buy your own handgun.

How do you get a carry permit?

To obtain a handgun carry permit in Tennessee, you must first successfully complete a handgun safety course offered by a handgun safety school that has been certified by the Department of Safety.

You can then file an application at any Driver Service Center in the state. You will need to bring with you the original copy of your safety course completion certificate, proof of U.S. Citizenship, photo ID such as your driver’s license,and $115 permit fee. Assuming there are no problems with the application, you should receive your permit within 90 days of the date the state receives your application.

Where can’t you go with your weapon?

Even though a person has a permit and is authorized to carry a firearm under Tennessee law, there are still restrictions as to where the weapon can be carried. The following are some examples of times and places that are off limits:

  • Any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress;
  • Any public or private school building or bus;
  • Any airport;
  • Many public parks and public recreation centers are off limits and will have signs posted explaining the rule.
  • When you’re drunk; Tennessee law says that you cannot carry a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

Violations of these rules can lead to a variety of criminal charges, including serious felonies.

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