Am I Eligible for a Permit?

While the Second Amendment generally guarantees most people the right to keep and bear arms, there are some circumstances that could disqualify you from handgun carry permit eligibility. We strongly encourage all permit applicants to visit the Tennessee Department of Safety’s website for the latest information on permit eligibility, as laws change often. Also it’s a good idea to be familiar with Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 of the Tennessee Code as well as Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 44 of the United States Code (federal law on firearms).

Gun laws can be complex and highly technical, and they come from different sources that don’t always align perfectly. There are exceptions to the general rules, but here are some of the main reasons why permit applications might be delayed or denied under state and federal law:

  • Criminal convictions or indictments
  • Stalking or domestic violence charges or convictions (any type)
  • Protective orders or restraining orders
  • Being a fugitive from justice
  • Alcohol or drug use or addiction
  • Court-ordered rehab or hospitalization for substance abuse (within the last ten years)
  • Voluntary rehab or hospitalization for substance abuse (within the last three years)
  • Documented mental health issues or developmental disabilities
  • Being on probation or parole
  • Dishonorable discharge (or “bad conduct” discharge) from the armed forces
  • Renouncing United States citizenship
  • Multiple convictions for driving under the influence (depending on recency)

Again, we strongly advise our students to read the relevant state and federal statutes or consult an attorney to learn the particulars of these legal provisions. If you have any general questions about permit eligibility, please contact the Handgun Unit at the Tennessee Department of Safety. You are also welcome to contact us, and we will be happy to help.