Tennessee generally allows the possession of a firearm within the confines of a licensed establishment open to the public where liquor, wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages are served for on-premises consumption unless the possessor is consuming any such alcoholic beverages on the premises.1 Handgun carry permit holders violating this provision will have their permits suspended for three years.2

Tennessee prohibits any person from intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly carrying a firearm on or about the person while inside any building in which judicial proceedings are in progress.3

In addition, Tennessee generally prohibits any person from possessing a firearm in, on, or while traversing any refuge, public hunting area or wildlife management area frequented or inhabited by big game, except during specified or lawful open hunting seasons in these areas.4 Handgun carry permit holders are generally exempt from this possession restriction, regardless of whether such area is frequented or inhabited by big game.5

An individual, corporation, business entity or local, state or federal government entity is authorized to prohibit the possession of firearms by any person attending a meeting conducted by, or on property owned, operated, or managed by or under the control of such individual, corporation, business entity or government entity.6 Notice must be posted according to statutory requirements.7 Handgun carry permit holders are subject to this prohibition.8 As of July 1, 2016, Tennessee law grants immunity from civil liability for property owners, businesses, or other entities with respect to any claim based on a failure to adopt a policy that prohibits weapons on the property by pursuant to the above-mentioned law.9

In 2011, Tennessee passed a law stating that the decision not to post property in this manner, thereby allowing persons with handgun permits to carry a handgun on the property, does not constitute an occupational safety and health hazard within the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Act.10

Tennessee generally prohibits the possession or carrying, openly or concealed and with the intent to go armed, of any of a specified list of prohibited weapons (not including most handguns and long guns)11 in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government for recreational purposes.12 However, persons with valid handgun permits are generally exempted from this restriction when carrying concealed handguns.13

A 2017 Tennessee law also clarified that local governments are generally prohibited from preventing concealed carry permit holders from possessing handguns on property owned or administered by the local government unless the building provides metal detectors and security officers at each public entrance to the building; the security officers must also inspect the bag, package, or container that is entering the building through the public entrance when the building is open to the public.14 However, these public building requirements do not apply to specified buildings, including schools, colleges or universities, libraries, licensed mental health and substance abuse facilities, law enforcement agency buildings, and courtrooms.15

Tennessee has no statutes prohibiting firearms in the following places:

  • Hospitals;
  • Places of worship;
  • Sports arenas;
  • Gambling facilities; or
  • Polling places.

State administrative regulations may govern the possession of firearms in these or other locations.


  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1321(b)(1). ⤴︎
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1321(c)(2). ⤴︎
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1306(a). ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 70-4-117(a). ⤴︎
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 70-4-117(d), 70-5-101. ⤴︎
  6. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1359(a)(1). ⤴︎
  7. Id. at (b)(1)-(3). Note that, as of July 1, 2016, these signage requirements were modified. 2016 TN H.B. 682, amending § 39-17-1359(b). ⤴︎
  8. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1359(a)(2). ⤴︎
  9. 2016 TN S.B. 1736, enacting Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1325. ⤴︎
  10. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-3-201. ⤴︎
  11. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1302(a) (the prohibited weapons include machine guns, short-barreled rifles or shotguns, and any other implements “for infliction of serious bodily injury or death” which have no lawful purpose). ⤴︎
  12. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1311(a). ⤴︎
  13. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1311(b)(1)(H). This is subject to certain limitations, including the presence of school-related athletic events or activities. Id. ⤴︎
  14. 2017 TN HB 508; Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1359(g). ⤴︎
  15. Id. ⤴︎