Nature and Source of the Right (TN)

The Tennessee Constitution, like the United States Constitution, acknowledges every citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.  “Arms” is commonly accepted to mean firearms (which is the primary weapon discussed in this paper), but the actual definition would include most any implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury. Unlike the United States Constitution, the Tennessee Constitution expressly reserves in the legislature the right to “regulate the wearing of” arms within view to “prevent crime.” Additionally, the Tennessee Constitution completely separates the right to bear arms from the right to a well-regulated militia. 

Tennessee Constitution Article I, Section 26. “That the citizens of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have the power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.”

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”