Unlicensed Carry / Deadly Weapon Defined

Tennessee does not allow the unlicensed carrying of firearms outside your home, place of business, or your vehicle. Even those employed as private security guards must be certified to carry each weapon found on their person. The most notable exception to this is the ability to carry a firearm, or ammunition, in one’s personal vehicle regardless of having a license or not.

Exceptions are also made for unloaded weapons where the ammunition is not in the vicinity, for weapons possessed or carried in the person’s place of residence, place of business, or premises. Possession or carrying incident to lawful hunting, trapping, fishing, sport shooting or other lawful activity is also legal. Individuals, using only a rifle or shotgun, engaged in the lawful protection of livestock from predatory animals may also carry or possess such weapon without a license. These exceptions, enumerated as defenses to prosecution under § 39-17-1307, are not available to those who unlawfully possess a firearm after a felony conviction.

Tennessee Valley authority officers, while performing their official duties, as well as federal, state, county or municipal judges or magistrates may also carry or possess firearms. Any out-of-state, full time, commissioned law enforcement officer who holds a valid commission card from their appropriate out-of-state law enforcement agency may also carry or possess without a license.

Note that there is no prohibition on unlicensed carry of knives, regardless of the blade length. While knives are considered a “deadly weapon,” Tennessee has removed all restrictions on knife ownership.