Currently, there is no legal requirement for existing handgun carry permit holders to conceal their handgun. Unlike some other states, Tennessee issues a “handgun carry permit”, not a “concealed handgun permit.” 1
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Tennessee’s New “Concealed Handgun Carry Permit”
However, effective January 1, 2020, the Tennessee Department of Safety will begin issuing a new, concealed-only handgun carry permit. The new statutes are at § 39-17-1366 et seq. The existing handgun carry permits will become “enhanced handgun carry permits”.
The concealed-only permit holder must meet the same criteria for the existing or enhanced permit, except the training course, and pay a $65.00 fee.2 Currently, the eight-hour training course has classroom and firing range requirements. The training course for the concealed-only permit can be met with many training courses, military or law enforcement experience.
An applicant may opt to complete a video or on-line course. The Department of Safety will determine if such a course meets the criteria under the statute. Such a course must convey current state law on carrying handguns, be not less than 90 minutes in length and include a test or quiz.
Another difference, the concealed-only permit does not allow the holder to possess a handgun under the very limited exceptions in § 39-17-1309(e)(8), regarding certain school property.
We must wait and see if this new concealed-only permit will be granted the same standing for reciprocity by other states.
If you would like more information on this matter, you may contact James Wagner at (865) 546-9321.
1There are reasons for this. Tennessee has long prohibited carrying a handgun with “intent to go armed”. Concealment of a weapon is not necessary to violate the statute. (§ 39-17-1307). Also, during the debate on the original permit statute, concerns were expressed that if concealment was required, would an accidental “uncovering” of a pistol would be a violation? That question may be answered with the new permit.
2Must be age 21 or over (18 for military), not prohibited from possessing firearms under federal or state law, etc. See § 39-17-1351(b) and (c) for details.