Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Tennessee

Posted on January 1, 2015

We are currently in the process of updating this page to reflect laws enacted in 2015. In the meantime, please contact the Law Center directly for questions about new 2015 laws.

Tennessee prohibits any juvenile (person under age 18)1 from knowingly possessing a handgun.2

No person may intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sell, loan or make a gift of a firearm to a minor (person under 18 years of age).3) The transferor may claim as a defense to prosecution that the firearm was loaned or given to a minor for the purposes of hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, sport shooting or any other lawful sporting activity, and the transferor is not required to obtain a license under Tennessee gun dealer laws.4

Tennessee also prohibits any person from intentionally, knowingly or recklessly providing a handgun, with or without remuneration, to any person the seller or transferor knows or has reason to believe is a juvenile.5 Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in Tennessee.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(a)(2). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(b). For a list of affirmative defenses a juvenile may raise when being prosecuted for knowingly possessing a handgun, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1319(d)(1). []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1303(a)(1). (Minor is defined under Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(23). []
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1303(b). []
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1320(a). []