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Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1

How Do I Obtain a Handgun Carry Permit?

To obtain a handgun carry permit in Tennessee, you must first successfully complete a handgun safety course offered by a handgun safety school that is certified by the Department of Safety.

You should then make application at any full service Driver Service Center. You will need to bring with you the original copy of your safety course completion certificate, proof of US Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency, photo identification such as your Driver License, and $115 NON-REFUNDABLE permit fee. This fee may be paid in cash, credit card, money order or with a certified check. If there are no problems with the application and you meet all eligibility requirements, you should receive your permit within 90 days of the date we receive your application.

When your application is processed at the Driver Service Center, you will be given instructions on being fingerprinted.

Even though a person has a permit and is authorized to possess or carry a firearm pursuant to TCA 39-17-1315 or 39-17-1351, there are restrictions as to where firearms may be carried. Additional information pertaining to possession of and carrying a firearm are listed by Tennessee Code Annotated and subject matter. More information can be obtained online from the Tennessee Code Annotated lookup (this link is to LexisNexis site external to Tennessee Department of Safety website).

Question 2

Can I renew my handgun carry permit before it expires?

Yes. You can renew your handgun carry permit up to six (6) months before your expiration date by completing an application and paying the $50.00 renewal fee. You may renew in person at any full service Driver Services Center or by mail to:

Tennessee Department of Safety
Handgun Permit Office
1150 Foster Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243-1000

Question 3

If my handgun carry permit has expired can I still renew?

You can renew your handgun carry permit up to six (6) months past the expiration date by completing an application and paying the $50.00 renewal fee. You may not legally carry a weapon while your permit has expired until you receive your new permit.

You may renew in person at any full service Driver Services Center or by mail to:

Tennessee Department of Safety
Handgun Permit Office
1150 Foster Avenue
Nashville, TN 37243-1000

If your permit has been expired more than six (6) months past the renewal date you will need to start the complete process again.  This includes completing a handgun safety course, paying the $115 fee, being fingerprinted and undergoing a background check.

Question 4

What States Recognize Tennessee Handgun Carry Permits?

Currently, Tennessee has signed formal reciprocity agreements with several states. Persons with valid Tennessee handgun carry permits should contact the reciprocity state for information on carrying handguns prior to entering the reciprocity state.

Question 5

How do I Renew a Handgun Carry Permit?

  • Your handgun carry permit will expire four (4) years from the date it is issued.
  • Renewals can be submitted up to six (6) months prior to the expiration date. Any person whose handgun carry permit expires and such person applies for a renewal within six (6) months from the date of expiration, such person shall only be required to comply with the renewal provisions. However, you may not lawfully carry a weapon until you receive a new permit.
  • If the handgun carry permit has been expired greater than 6 months past the expiration date, the applicant will have to start the complete application process. This includes completing a handgun safety course, paying the $115 fee, being fingerprinted and undergoing a background check.
  • The renewal fee for a handgun carry permit is $50.00. Permit Holders whose permit have not expired and are renewing their permit, may legally carry their handgun with the receipt provided from their application. Permit Holders whose permit have expired and are renewing their permit, cannot lawfully carry a handgun until they receive their new permit.
  • A permit holder can submit a Renewal Application at any full service Driver License Center or renew by mail. To receive a renewal application by mail call toll-free 1-866-849-3548.
  • Complete and sign your application. Mail the application and the $50.00 fee payable by check or money order to the following address:
    Tennessee Department of Safety
    Handgun Permit Office
    1150 Foster Ave.
    Nashville, TN 37243-1000
  • Incomplete applications cannot be processed.
  • FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.

Question 6

Does Tennessee require a handgun be concealed? No

See Attorney General Opinion 05-154

Question 7

Where can handguns not be carried?

Below are some Tennessee Code Annotated sections relative to where handguns cannot be carried. Disclaimer: This list is not intended to be legal advice and is not necessarily all inclusive.

Click here to access a free online version of The Tennessee Code. To find a particular statute, enter the statute number (i.e. 39-17-1351) into the search box at the top left of the page and click the 'search' button. That will give you a direct link to the statute you want to read.

  • TCA 39-17-1306 - Carrying weapons during judicial proceedings.
  • TCA 39-17-1309 - Carrying weapons on school property. Also see Attorney General Opinions 09-129 and 09-160.
  • TCA 39-17-1311 - Amended by 2009 Public Chapter 428 - Carrying weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds. Also see Attorney General Opinions 09-129, 09-160 and 09-169.
  • TCA 39-17-1321 - Possession of handgun while under influence.
  • TCA 39-17-1359 - Prohibition at certain meetings — Posting notice.
  • TCA Title 70, Chapter 4 - Miscellaneous Regulations
  • TCA 70-4-103 - Fox hunting - Training of hunting dogs - Penalty.
  • TCA 70-4-112 - Hunting and chasing coons regulated - Training season - Violations, penalties.
  • TCA 70-4-117 - Amended by 2009 Public Chapter 606 - Possession of weapons in areas inhabited by big game.
  • TCA 70-5-101 - Amended by 2009 Public Chapter 606 - Establishment of hunting areas, refuges, and wildlife management areas — Prohibited acts.
  • Attorney General Opinion 09-170 - Firearms on Leased Property.
  • Note that handguns are also prohibited at airports, military institutions, and any other building/area prohibited by federal law.

Question 8

How Do I Obtain Military Training Exception for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351?

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security is mandated to require applicants to submit proof of the successful completion of a department approved handgun safety course. An applicant is not required to comply with the firing range and classroom requirements if within five (5) years from the date of handgun carry permit application the applicant successfully completed all handgun training of not less than four (4) hours as required by any branch of the military.

There have been many interpretations of this statute over the last several years. Letters have been submitted from commanding officers, DD-214 forms, military ID cards, Honorable Discharges and General Discharges as verification of training.

On March 4, 2011 this process was clarified with the standardized usage of the Department of Defense form (DD-2586) to document handgun training of not less than four (4) hours. At that time we were informed that all branches of service completed a standard verification of military experience and training on the DD-2586.

On December 8, 2012 the Department was informed of two forms used by the Army which capture combat pistol training (DA-88-R and DA5704-R). These forms can now be used to verify military handgun training.

On March 13, 2013 the Department was informed of a form used by the Air Force to capture the results of small arms qualification training (AF Form 522). This form can now be used to verify military handgun training.

Question 9

How do I obtain law enforcement and armed security guard EXCEPTION for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351?

T.C.A. 39-17-1351 (e) (1) - An applicant is not required to complete a department approved handgun safety course if, within five (5) years from the date of application, the applicant has been certified by the peace officer standards and training commission (P.O.S.T.).

To obtain this exception a copy of current POST certification must be presented with the application. This does not apply to reserve officers, part-time officers, or other uncertified peace officers.

Departments with exceptions on file (listed below) need only provide a copy of their current identification/commission card with the application. This does not apply to reserve officers, part-time officers, or other uncertified peace officers.


FEDERAL AGENCIES STATE AGENCIES
TVA Police Department of Agriculture
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)
Environment and Conservation, Park Service
Safety and Homeland Security, THP, Homeland Security
U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)
Tennessee Office of Inspector General
Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)
COUNTY AGENCIES MUNICIPAL AGENCIES
Blount County Sheriff’s Department Chattanooga Police Department
Knox County Sheriff’s Department Knoxville Police Department
Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Memphis Police Department
Davidson County Sheriff’s Department Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority
Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department Metropolitan Nashville Police Department
Vanderbilt University Police
Clarksville Police Department
Berry Hill Police Department

T.C.A. 39-17-1351 (e) (2) - An applicant is not required to complete a department approved handgun safety course if, within five (5) years from the date of application, the applicant has successfully completed training at the law enforcement training academy (TLETA).

To obtain this exception a copy of signed T.L.E.T.A diploma/certificate pertaining to handgun training must be presented with the application.

T.C.A. 39-17-1351 (e) (3) - An applicant is not required to complete a department approved handgun safety course if, within five (5) years from the date of application, the applicant successfully completed the firearms training course required for armed security guard/officer registration, pursuant to 62-35-118(b).

To obtain this exception a copy of the armed registration card or certificate (IN-1313) issued by the Department of Commerce & Insurance must be presented with the application. A Certificate of Successful Completion of Guard Training (IN-1144) is unacceptable.