A. “Regular” Permit Holders
In order to prohibit firearms on the premises, the notice of such prohibition must be posted in the form of a sign. Tennessee gives individuals, corporations, business entities, and local, state, and federal government entities or agents thereof the authority to prohibit firearm possession on their premises.
No Guns signs must meet all requirements to prohibit firearms on that premises. The requirements are:
- The sign must be displayed in prominent locations including all entrances primarily used by persons entering the property, building, or portion of the property where weapon possession is prohibited.
- The notice must be plainly visible to the average person.
- The notice must be posted in English, but may include a duplicate notice in any other language used by individuals frequenting the premises.
- The sign shall include the phrase “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” and such phrase must measure one inch high and eight inches wide; the sign must also include the phrase “As authorized by T.C.A. § 39-17-1359.”
- The sign must also include a pictorial representation of the phrase “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” in the form of a circle with a diagonal line through the circle and the image of a firearm inside the circle under the diagonal line. The diagonal line shall be at a forty-five degree angle from the upper left to the lower right side of the circle.
Below is an exemplar of a sign meeting the statutory requirements.
B. “Enhanced” License Holders
‘No Guns’ signs are a key difference between the enhanced carry permit and the concealed (basic) carry permit. While basic permit holders are outright barred from carrying in posted locations, a premises must impose extra security measures to give their posted firearm prohibition legal effect over enhanced carry permit holders. In order for the signs to have effect over enhanced carry permit holders, the location must provide metal detectors along with at least one law enforcement or private security official properly trained to conduct inspections of persons entering the premises by way of the metal detectors. The location must also ensure each person who enters the property, through the public entrance when the property is open to the public, goes through the metal detectors, and any bag, package, and other container carried by the person is inspected by a law enforcement or private security officer, or an authorized representative with the authority to deny entry to the property. Without these added security measures, enhanced carry permit holders need not obey posted no guns signs when entering such a location.
C. Exceptions Applicable To Both Licenses
Note that schools, courts, public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings, buildings containing a law enforcement agency, libraries, and facilities licensed by the department of human services administering a Head Start program may prohibit firearm possession by both basic and enhanced carry permit holders without needing these additional security measures. Locations authorized under title 33 (Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities), title 37 (Juveniles), and title 68 (Health, Safety and Environmental Protection) may also prohibit firearm possession for all permit holders without the necessity of added security measures.
D. Penalty For Violation
Possession of a firearm on posted property in violation of such signs meeting the above requirements is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by fine only of $500.