Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated December 9, 2013
In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Tennessee ranked 31st out of 50 – having enacted few gun violence prevention laws.
In 2013, the Tennessee legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.
Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation
|TN S 789||Requires courts to submit mental health adjudication information to NICS.|
Laws that Weaken Gun Regulation
|TN H 6||Allows K-12 school personnel to possess a firearm on school property if the person has a concealed weapon permit and is authorized by the school superintendent.|
|TN H 9||Makes concealed weapon permit records confidential.|
|TN S 142||Allows person with a valid handgun carry permit to transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder’s privately-owned motor vehicle in any public or private parking area.|
|TN S 714||Limits the 10-year period that a person must wait between exiting a drug or alcohol program or hospital before being eligible for a handgun carry permit to three years if the applicant entered rehab voluntarily.|
Among other things, Tennessee:
- Conducts its own background checks on firearm purchasers, in some cases allowing 15 days for complete information to be obtained;
- Prohibits domestic violence abusers from purchasing or possessing firearms, and requires abusers subject to protection orders to surrender all firearms for the duration of the order; and
- Mandatorily submits mental health records to the database used for firearm purchaser background checks.
Tennessee does not, however:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed parties;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Require firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- Require gun owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases;
- Regulate unsafe handguns (“junk guns” or “Saturday night specials”);
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms; or
- Give local law enforcement discretion to deny a concealed handgun license.
In 2010, Tennessee had the 10th highest number of gun deaths per capita among the states.In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009 Tennessee supplied the 22nd highest number of crime guns to other states per capita, and exports more crime guns than it imports.
Tennessee Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Tennessee, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.