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Weapons Possession Laws in Tennessee

gun-possession-law-tennesseeThe second amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of all citizens to bear arms. While Tennessee is more relaxed than some states in terms of weapons restrictions, there are still legislative lines that shouldn’t be crossed. It’s important for citizens to be aware of what is and isn’t considered acceptable under state law before purchasing any type of firearm or other dangerous implement.

Taking care to fulfill all proper requirements, such as submitting personal information and acquiring permits, is the most ideal way to prevent mistakes which could lead to unlawful weapons possession offenses. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 — Tennesseans should also be aware of how to curb such charges if the circumstance calls for it.

Illegal Weapons in Tennessee

Qualified individuals may purchase many types of weapons without the requirement of permits or background checks. However, there are a few exceptions. The average person in Tennessee is invariably prohibited from owning the following:

  • Brass or metal knuckles,
  • Switchblades,
  • Machine guns,
  • Sawed-off shotguns (short-barreled),
  • Silencers, and
  • Explosives.

Penalties for possession of the aforementioned weapons correspond to their individual capacities for causing harm. Switchblades and brass knuckles are worth Class A misdemeanors and a maximum of 1 year in prison. Possession of machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and silencers are each considered Class E felonies and equates to a maximum of 6 years in prison. Possession of explosives is punished the most severely — as a Class B felony, such a crime is worth anywhere from 8-30 years behind bars.

Gun Ownership in Tennessee

Shotguns and rifles require no permits or background checks in Tennessee, as long as the person purchasing the gun is over the age of 18. Persons unqualified to purchase guns include:

  • Foreigners,
  • Drug addicts,
  • Felons,
  • Persons with domestic violence charges on record, and
  • Persons with multiple DUI’s on record.

With the consent of a legal adult, minors are allowed to own these types of weapons as long as they are used for sporting activities.

Handguns are taken more seriously. Purchasers are required to fulfill background checks, pay a small fee, and provide personal information. Minors are not allowed to possess a handgun except under very specific circumstances.

Furthermore, handgun owners must obtain a license in order to legally carry and conceal their weapons in public. Such credentials require that applicants be 21 years of age or older, submit fingerprints and photo documentation, concede to another background check, and wait up to 90 days after applications are processed. Out of state licenses for concealed carry are respected, but must be kept on person.

Penalties for Unlawful Weapons Possession in Tennessee

Consequences for these types of crimes can be hard to predict. Unless the weapon is inherently illegal to possess, charges are typically qualified as Class C or B misdemeanors, depending on whether an offender has committed a similar crime before. Class C misdemeanors are for first-time offenders, cost up to $500, and worth a maximum of 30 days behind bars. Multiple violations translate to Class B misdemeanors, and any subsequent offenses are likely to be considered felonies.

Possession of any weapon while intoxicated is always unlawful — even if the weapon is legal and all permits are present. Carrying under the influence of alcohol or drugs is worth a Class A misdemeanor, maximum fines of $2,500, and up to 1 year of incarceration.

Hire Nashville Criminal Lawyers

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients across a wide variety of circumstances related to weapons charges. Whether you’ve been put at risk by a person in possession of an unlawful weapon or accused of such offenses yourself, we know the most efficient routes towards pursuing a satisfactory resolution. Call today, or go online to set up your Free Initial Consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to get you on track toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660