2010 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 17 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare
Part 13 - Weapons
39-17-1351 - Handgun carry permits. [Amended effective January 1, 2010. See the Compiler’s Notes.]

39-17-1351. Handgun carry permits. [Amended effective January 1, 2010. See the CompilerÂ’s Notes.]

(a)  The citizens of this state have a right to keep and bear arms for their common defense; but the general assembly has the power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.

(b)  Except as provided in subsection (r), any resident of Tennessee who is a United States citizen or permanent lawful resident, as defined by § 55-50-102, who has reached twenty-one (21) years of age, may apply to the department of safety for a handgun carry permit. If the applicant is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm in this state pursuant to § 39-17-1316 or § 39-17-1307(b), 18 U.S.C. § 922(g), or any other state or federal law, and the applicant otherwise meets all of the requirements of this section, the department shall issue a permit to the applicant.

(c)  The application for a permit shall be on a standard form developed by the department. The application shall clearly state in bold face type directly above the signature line that an applicant who, with intent to deceive, makes any false statement on the application commits the felony offense of perjury pursuant to § 39-16-702. The following are eligibility requirements for obtaining a handgun carry permit and the application shall require the applicant to disclose and confirm compliance with, under oath, the following information concerning the applicant and the eligibility requirements:

     (1)  Full legal name and any aliases;

     (2)  Addresses for the last five (5) years;

     (3)  Date of birth;

     (4)  Social security number;

     (5)  Physical description (height, weight, race, sex, hair color and eye color);

     (6)  That the applicant has not been convicted of a criminal offense that is designated as a felony, or that is one of the disqualifying misdemeanors set out in subdivisions (c)(11), (c)(16), or (c)(18), with the exception of any federal or state offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade or other similar offenses relating to the regulations of business practices;

     (7)  That the applicant is not currently under indictment or information for any criminal offense that is designated as a felony, or that is one of the disqualifying misdemeanors set out in subdivisions (c)(11), (c)(16), or (c)(18), with the exception of any federal or state offenses pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, restraints of trade or other similar offenses relating to the regulations of business practices;

     (8)  That the applicant is not currently subject to any order of protection and, if so, the applicant shall provide a copy of the order;

     (9)  That the applicant is not a fugitive from justice;

     (10)  That the applicant is not an unlawful user of or addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance and the applicant has not been a patient in a rehabilitation program or hospitalized for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or addiction within ten (10) years from the date of application;

     (11)  That the applicant has not been convicted of the offense of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in this or any other state two (2) or more times within ten (10) years from the date of the application and that none of the convictions has occurred within five (5) years from the date of application or renewal; [Amended effective January 1, 2010. See the CompilerÂ’s Notes.]

     (12)  That the applicant has not been adjudicated as a mental defective, has not been judicially committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution pursuant to title 33, has not had a court appoint a conservator for the applicant by reason of a mental defect, has not been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of mental illness, developmental disability or other mental incapacity, and has not, within seven (7) years from the date of application, been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm, as defined in title 33, chapter 6, part 5, because of mental illness;

     (13)  That the applicant is not an alien and is not illegally or unlawfully in the United States;

     (14)  That the applicant has not been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions;

     (15)  That the applicant has not renounced the applicant's United States citizenship;

     (16)  That the applicant has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921(33);

     (17)  That the applicant is not receiving social security disability benefits by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability; and

     (18)  That the applicant has not been convicted of the offense of stalking.

(d)  (1)  In addition to the information required under subsection (c), the applicant shall be required to provide two (2) full sets of classifiable fingerprints at the time the application is filed with the department. The applicant's fingerprints may be taken by the department at the time the application is submitted or the applicant may have the fingerprints taken at any sheriff's office and submit the fingerprints to the department along with the application and other supporting documents. The sheriff may charge a fee not to exceed five dollars ($5.00) for taking the applicant's fingerprints. At the time an applicant's fingerprints are taken either by the department or a sheriff's office, the applicant shall be required to present a photo identification. If the person requesting fingerprinting is not the same person as the person whose picture appears on the photo identification, the department or sheriff shall refuse to take the fingerprints. The department shall also be required to photograph the applicant in a manner that is suitable for use on the permit.

     (2)  An applicant shall also be required to present a photo identification to the department at the time of filing the application. If the name on the photo identification, name on the application and name on the fingerprint card, if taken by a sheriff, are not the same, the department shall refuse to accept the application. If the person whose picture appears on the photo identification is not the same as the applicant, the department shall refuse to accept the application.

(e)  The department shall also require an applicant to submit proof of the successful completion of a department approved handgun safety course. Any form created by the department to show proof of the successful completion of a department approved handgun safety course shall not require the applicant to provide the applicant's social security number. Any instructor of a department approved handgun safety course shall not withhold proof of the successful completion of the course solely on the fact the applicant did not disclose the applicant's social security number. The course shall include both classroom hours and firing range hours. An applicant shall not be required to comply with the firing range and classroom hours requirements of this subsection (e) if the applicant submits proof to the department that within five (5) years from the date the application for a handgun carry permit is filed the applicant has:

     (1)  Been certified by the peace officer standards and training commission;

     (2)  Successfully completed training at the law enforcement training academy;

     (3)  Successfully completed the firearms training course required for armed security guard/officer registration, pursuant to § 62-35-118(b); or

     (4)  Successfully completed all handgun training of not less than four (4) hours as required by any branch of the military.

(f)  The department shall make applications for permits available for distribution at any location where the department conducts driver license examinations.

(g)  (1)  Upon receipt of a permit application, the department shall:

          (A)  Forward two (2) full sets of fingerprints of the applicant to the Tennessee bureau of investigation; and

          (B)  Send a copy of the application to the sheriff of the county in which the applicant resides.

     (2)  Within thirty (30) days of receiving an application, the sheriff shall provide the department with any information concerning the truthfulness of the applicant's answers to the eligibility requirements of subsection (c) that is within the knowledge of the sheriff.

(h)  Upon receipt of the fingerprints from the department, the Tennessee bureau of investigation shall:

     (1)  Within thirty (30) days from receipt of the fingerprints, conduct computer searches to determine the applicant's eligibility for a permit under subsection (c) as are available to the bureau based solely upon the applicant's name, date of birth and social security number and send the results of the searches to the department;

     (2)  Conduct a criminal history record check based upon one (1) set of the fingerprints received and send the results to the department; and

     (3)  Send one (1) set of the fingerprints received from the department to the federal bureau of investigation, request a federal criminal history record check based upon the fingerprints, as long as the service is available, and send the results of the check to the department. [Amended effective January 1, 2010. See the CompilerÂ’s Notes.]

(i)  The department shall deny a permit application if it determines from information contained in the criminal history record checks conducted by the Tennessee and federal bureaus of investigation pursuant to subsection (h), from information received from the clerks of court regarding individuals adjudicated as a mental defective or judicially committed to a mental institution pursuant to title 33, or from other information that comes to the attention of the department, that the applicant does not meet the eligibility requirements of this section. The department shall not be required to confirm the applicant's eligibility for a permit beyond the information received from the Tennessee and federal bureaus of investigation, the clerks of court and the sheriffs, if any.

(j)  The department shall not deny a permit application if:

     (1)  The existence of any arrest or other records concerning the applicant for any indictment, charge or warrant have been judicially or administratively expunged; or

     (2)  An applicant's conviction has been set aside by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

     (3)  The applicant, who was rendered infamous or deprived of the rights of citizenship by judgment of any state or federal court, has had the applicant's full rights of citizenship duly restored pursuant to procedures set forth within title 40, chapter 29, or other federal or state law; provided, however, that the provisions of this subdivision (j)(3) shall not apply to any person who has been convicted of burglary, any felony offense involving violence or use of a firearm or any felony drug offense involving a Schedule I, II, III, IV or V controlled substance. If the applicant has been convicted of a felony drug offense involving a Schedule VI controlled substance, the provisions of this subdivision (j)(3) shall not apply if the offense occurred within ten (10) years of the date of application or renewal.

(k)  If the department denies an application, the department shall notify the applicant in writing within ten (10) days of the denial. The written notice shall state the specific factual basis for the denial. It shall include a copy of any reports, records or inquiries reviewed or relied upon by the department.

(l)  The department shall issue a permit to an applicant not prohibited from obtaining a permit under this section no later than ninety (90) days after the date the department receives the application. A permit issued prior to the department's receipt of the Tennessee and federal bureaus of investigation's criminal history record checks based upon the applicant's fingerprints shall be subject to immediate revocation if either record check reveals that the applicant is not eligible for a permit pursuant to the provisions of this section.

(m)  A permit holder shall not be required to complete a handgun safety course to maintain or renew a handgun carry permit. No permit holder shall be required to complete any additional handgun safety course after obtaining a handgun carry permit. No person shall be required to complete any additional handgun safety course if the person applies for a renewal of a handgun carry permit within six (6) months from the date of expiration.

(n)  (1)  Except as provided in subdivision (n)(2), a permit issued pursuant to this section shall be good for four (4) years and shall entitle the permit holder to carry any handgun or handguns that the permit holder legally owns or possesses. The permit holder shall have the permit in the holder's immediate possession at all times when carrying a handgun and shall display the permit on demand of a law enforcement officer.

     (2)  A Tennessee permit issued pursuant to this section to a person who is in or who enters into the United States armed forces shall continue in effect for so long as the person's service continues and the person is stationed outside this state, notwithstanding the fact that the person may be temporarily in this state on furlough, leave, or delay en route, and for a period not to exceed sixty (60) days following the date on which the person is honorably discharged or separated from service or returns to this state on reassignment to a duty station in this state, unless the permit is sooner suspended, cancelled or revoked for cause as provided by law. The permit is valid only when in the immediate possession of the permit holder and the permit holder has in the holder's immediate possession the holder's discharge or separation papers, if the permit holder has been discharged or separated from the service.

(o)  The permit shall be issued on a wallet-sized laminated card of the same approximate size as is used by the state of Tennessee for driver licenses and shall contain only the following information concerning the permit holder:

     (1)  The permit holder's name, address and date of birth;

     (2)  A description of the permit holder by sex, height, weight and eye color;

     (3)  A color photograph of the permit holder; and

     (4)  The permit number and expiration date.

(p)  (1)  The department shall charge an application and processing fee of one hundred fifteen dollars ($115). The fee shall cover all aspects of processing the application and issuing a permit. In addition to any other portion of the permit application fee that goes to the Tennessee bureau of investigation, fifteen dollars ($15.00) of the fee shall go to the bureau for the sole purpose of updating and maintaining its fingerprint criminal history data base. On an annual basis, the comptroller of the treasury shall audit the bureau to ensure that the extra fifteen dollars ($15.00) received from each handgun permit application fee is being used exclusively for the purpose set forth in this subsection (p). By February 1 of each year the bureau shall provide documentation to the judiciary committees of the senate and house of representatives that the extra fifteen dollars ($15.00) is being used exclusively for the intended purposes. The documentation shall state in detail how the money earmarked for fingerprint data base updating and maintenance was spent, the number and job descriptions of any employees hired and the type and purpose of any equipment purchased.

     (2)  The provisions of subdivision (p)(1) increasing each permit application fee by fifteen dollars ($15.00) for the purpose of fingerprint data base updating and maintenance shall not take effect if the general appropriation act provides a specific appropriation in the amount of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000), to defray the expenses contemplated in subdivision (p)(1). If the appropriation is not included in the general appropriations act, the fifteen dollar ($15.00) permit fee increase imposed by subdivision (p)(1) shall take effect on July 1, 1997, the public welfare requiring it.

     (3)  Beginning July 1, 2008, fifteen dollars ($15.00) of the fee established in subdivision (p)(1) shall be submitted to the sheriff of the county where the applicant resides for the purpose of verifying the truthfulness of the applicant's answers as provided in subdivision (g)(1).

(q)  (1)  Prior to the expiration of a permit, a permit holder may apply to the department for the renewal of the permit by submitting, under oath, a renewal application with a renewal fee of fifty dollars ($50.00). The renewal application shall be on a standard form developed by the department of safety and shall require the applicant to disclose, under oath, the information concerning the applicant as set forth in subsection (c), and shall require the applicant to certify that the applicant still satisfies all the eligibility requirements of this section for the issuance of a permit. In the event the permit expires prior to the department's approval or issuance of notice of denial regarding the renewal application, the permit holder shall be entitled to continue to use the expired permit; provided, however, that the permit holder shall also be required to prove by displaying a receipt for the renewal application fee that the renewal application was delivered to the department prior to the expiration date of the permit.

     (2)  Any person whose handgun carry permit expires and who applies for a renewal of the handgun carry permit within six (6) months from the date of expiration shall only be required to comply with the renewal provisions of subdivision (q)(1). If the renewal application is filed six (6) months or more from the date of expiration, the person shall, for all purposes, be considered a new applicant.

     (3)  If a person whose handgun carry permit remained valid pursuant to subdivision (n)(2) because the person was in the United States armed forces applies for a renewal of the permit within six (6) months of the expiration of the sixty (60) day period following discharge, separation, or return to this state on reassignment to a duty station in this state as provided in subdivision (n)(2), the person shall only be required to comply with the renewal provisions of subdivision (q)(1). If the renewal application is filed six (6) months or more from expiration of the sixty (60) day period following the date of honorable discharge, separation, or return to this state on reassignment to a duty station in this state, the person shall, for all purposes, be considered a new applicant.

(r)  (1)  A facially valid handgun permit, firearms permit, weapons permit or license issued by another state shall be valid in this state according to its terms and shall be treated as if it is a handgun permit issued by this state; provided, however, the provisions of this subsection (r) shall not be construed to authorize the holder of any out-of-state permit or license to carry, in this state, any firearm or weapon other than a handgun.

     (2)  For a person to lawfully carry a handgun in this state based upon a permit or license issued in another state, the person must be in possession of the permit or license at all times the person carries a handgun in this state.

     (3)  (A)  The commissioner of safety shall enter into written reciprocity agreements with other states that require the execution of the agreements. The commissioner of safety shall prepare and publicly publish a current list of states honoring permits issued by the state of Tennessee and shall make the list available to anyone upon request. The commissioner of safety shall also prepare and publicly publish a current list of states who, after inquiry by the commissioner, refuse to enter into a reciprocity agreement with this state or honor handgun carry permits issued by this state. To the extent that any state may impose conditions in the reciprocity agreements, the commissioner of safety shall publish those conditions as part of the list. If another state imposes conditions on Tennessee permit holders in a reciprocity agreement, the conditions shall also become a part of the agreement and apply to the other state's permit holders when they carry a handgun in this state.

          (B)  If a person with a handgun permit from another state decides to become a resident of Tennessee, the person must obtain a Tennessee handgun permit within six (6) months of establishing residency in Tennessee. The permit may be issued based on the person having a permit from another state provided the other state has substantially similar permit eligibility requirements as this state. However, if during the six-month period the person applies for a handgun permit in this state and the application is denied, the person shall not be allowed to carry a handgun in this state based upon the other state's permit.

          (C)  (i)  If a person who is a resident of and handgun permit holder in another state is employed in this state on a regular basis and desires to carry a handgun in this state, the person shall have six (6) months from the last day of the sixth month of regular employment in this state to obtain a Tennessee handgun carry permit. The permit may be issued based on the person having a permit from another state provided the other state has substantially similar permit eligibility requirements as this state. However, if during the six-month period the person applies for a handgun permit in this state and the application is denied, the person shall not be allowed to carry a handgun in this state based upon the other state's permit.

                (ii)  The provisions of this subdivision (r)(3)(C) shall not apply if the state of residence of the person employed in Tennessee has entered into a handgun permit reciprocity agreement with this state pursuant to this subsection (r).

                (iii)  As used in this subdivision (r)(3)(C), “employed in this state on a regular basis” means a person has been gainfully employed in this state for at least thirty (30) hours a week for six (6) consecutive months not counting any absence from employment caused by the employee's use of sick leave, annual leave, administrative leave or compensatory time.

(s)  (1)  The department shall make available, on request and payment of a reasonable fee to cover the costs of copying, a statistical report that includes the number of permits issued, denied, revoked, or suspended by the department during the preceding month, listed by age, gender and zip code of the applicant or permit holder and the reason for any permit revocation or suspension. The report shall also include the cost of the program, the revenues derived from fees, the number of violations of the provisions of the handgun carry permit law, and the average time for issuance of a handgun carry permit. By January 1 of each year, a copy of the statistical reports for the preceding calendar year shall be provided to each member of the general assembly.

     (2)  (A)  The department shall maintain statistics related to responses by law enforcement agencies to incidents in which a person who has a permit to carry a handgun under this section is arrested and booked for any offense.

          (B)  The department by rule promulgated pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, compiled in title 4, chapter 5 shall adopt procedures for state and local law enforcement officials to report the information required by subdivision (s)(2)(A) to the department.

(t)  Any law enforcement officer of this state or of any county or municipality may, within the realm of the officer's lawful jurisdiction and when the officer is acting in the lawful discharge of the officer's official duties, disarm a permit holder at any time when the officer reasonably believes it is necessary for the protection of the permit holder, officer or other individual or individuals. The officer shall return the handgun to the permit holder before discharging the permit holder from the scene when the officer has determined that the permit holder is not a threat to the officer, to the permit holder, or other individual or individuals provided that the permit holder has not violated any provision of this section and provided the permit holder has not committed any other violation that results in the arrest of the permit holder.

(u)  Substantial compliance with the requirements of this section shall provide the department and any political subdivision thereof with immunity from civil liability alleging liability for issuance of the permit.

(v)  Any permit issued pursuant to this section shall be deemed a “license” within the meaning of title 36, chapter 5, part 7, dealing with the enforcement of child support obligations through license denial and revocation.

(w)  (1)  Notwithstanding any other law or rule to the contrary, neither the department nor an instructor or employee of a department approved handgun safety course is authorized to require any applicant for a handgun carry permit to furnish or reveal identifying information concerning any handgun the applicant owns, possesses or uses during the safety course in order to apply for or be issued the permit.

     (2)  For purposes of subdivision (w)(1), “identifying information concerning any handgun” includes, but is not limited to, the serial number, model number, make of gun or manufacturer, type of gun, such as revolver or semi-automatic, caliber or whether the applicant owns the handgun used for the safety course.

[Acts 1996, ch. 905, § 3; 1997, ch. 476, § 1; 2000, ch. 947, § 8C; 2001, ch. 218, § 1; 2002, ch. 601, § 1; 2003, ch. 300, §§ 1, 2; 2003, ch. 349, §§ 1, 2; 2004, ch. 483, §§ 1, 2; 2004, ch. 776, § 1; 2005, ch. 343, § 1; 2005, ch. 423, § 1; 2008, ch. 1174, § 1; 2009, ch. 101, § 1; 2009, ch. 433, § 1; 2009, ch. 578, §§ 10, 11.]  
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