Tennessee law generally penalizes anyone who intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells a machine gun.1 However, it is a defense to prosecution that the person’s conduct involved acquisition or possession of a machine gun that is validly registered to the person under federal law in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records.2 Federal law generally allows private citizens to acquire and possess machine guns manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 so long as they are registered. Tennessee law simply requires a person who acquires or possesses a firearm registered as required under federal law to retain proof of registration.3

Tennessee law requires the sheriff or chief of police of the city where a person purchasing any machine gun (or other firearm required to be registered under the National Firearms Act) resides to execute within 15 business days all documents required to be submitted by the purchaser if the purchaser is not prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to Tennessee law.4

See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1302. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1361. ⤴︎