Private Sales 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.

Private firearm transfers (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers) are not subject to a background check requirement in Tennessee.

Tennessee prohibits any person from purchasing or attempting to purchase a firearm knowing that he or she is prohibited by state or federal law from owning, possessing or purchasing a gun.1

Tennessee also prohibits any person from selling or offering to sell a firearm to a person with knowledge that the prospective purchaser is prohibited by state or federal law from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm.2

See the Tennessee Minimum Age to Purchase or Possess Firearms section for age restrictions.

No person may intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sell a firearm or ammunition to a person who is intoxicated.3

Finally, any person who gives or sells a firearm to a service recipient (defined as a person who is receiving service, has applied for service, or for whom someone has applied for or proposed service because the person has a mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or a developmental disability)4 in a hospital or developmental center, whether on the premises of the facility or elsewhere, knowing such person to be suffering from a mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, or developmental disability, is criminally liable for a felony.5

See the section entitled Firearms Trafficking in Tennessee for laws aimed at gun trafficking.

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(q)(1). []
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(2). []
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1303(a)(2). []
  4. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-1-101. []
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 33-3-904(a)(4). []