Did you know?
Permitless carry of handguns became legal in Tennessee as of July 2021. Many Tennessee residents can now carry a handgun in public, either openly or concealed (there are some exceptions). Here at CSA, we are happy that law-abiding citizens now have easier access to personal defensive options. However, even with permitless carry, it’s still vitally important that people educate themselves on the legal, moral, ethical, social, and tactical realities of carrying a handgun in public.
Deciding to carry a gun is a big decision, and if it’s not done properly it can lead to a lot of trouble. We can’t stress enough the importance of study, training, and structured practice to become a safe, ethical, responsible handgun carrier.
What should you know?
Historically, Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(a) made it illegal to carry a firearm with the intent to go armed, unless you had a permit to do so. Now, with permitless carry, as long as you would otherwise qualify for a permit, you can legally carry without one. However, there are conditions and exceptions, and TN residents should be aware of them:
- Permitless carry only covers handguns (not other types of weapons).
- You must be at least 21 years old (active and honorably discharged military personnel can carry at 18).
- You still need a permit to carry in state parks and greenways.
- You can not carry and drink alcohol (not even one sip).
- Permitless carry only applies in the state of Tennessee.
Should I still keep or get the carry permit?
At CSA, we believe the answer is yes. Even though many people can now carry in lots of places without a permit, there are still advantages to getting a permit, and we think it’s the most responsible way to go armed. Here are some of the benefits to getting a carry permit and taking the associated training class:
- Proper training reduces the likelihood of accidents and injuries from misuse or lack of knowledge.
- Proper training helps gun owners better understand the legal technicalities of handgun ownership and carry, thus reducing the odds of unintentionally breaking the law.
- Proper training introduces gun owners to principles of defensive force, so they know the limits and parameters of lawful self defense.
- There are fewer restrictions on handgun carry if you have a permit.
- Permits allow you to carry in certain situations where permitless carry is prohibited.
- Having a permit shows that you are responsible and willing to educate yourself.
- Having a permit shows that you are a law-abiding citizens who has passed a background check.
- The enhanced permit is recognized by over thirty other states, whereas permitless carry is not.
In short, carrying a firearm is your right, but learning how to use it safely and ethically is your responsibility. That’s why we strongly encourage getting trained and getting a permit if you’re going to carry a firearm. For more information on permit training, please see our Handgun Carry Permit page. Hope to see you in class!