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Firearms Law

The official Frantz, McConnell, and Seymour, LLP blog.

Tennessee’s New “Concealed Handgun Carry Permit”

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

 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.  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.
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