How to Get a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit

You'll need to take a training course first

Young man with gun in belt
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If you are a Tennessee resident and want to carry a loaded handgun on your person or in your vehicle, you must obtain a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit.

If you've moved to Tennessee from another state, even if you have a valid carry permit from that state, you have to obtain a permit from Tennessee within six months to avoid running afoul of state law.

It is relatively easy to obtain the license, provided you meet certain requirements and receive proper safety training. It can take up to 92 days before you get your permit. Once you get your permit, you'll need a gun and some ammunition to use in training (you may own it, borrow it, or rent it).

Eligibility Requirements for Tennessee Handgun Permits

Determine your eligibility. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, Tennessee residents, and at least 21 years of age. In addition, applicants must not have felony records, a history of substance abuse, or be disabled due to mental incapacity. 

Training for a Tennessee Gun Permit

Anyone who wants to carry a gun in Tennessee must take eight hours of handgun safety training through a state-approved program. Ranges throughout the state offer these courses which consist of four hours of classroom instruction and four hours of firing range instruction. 

You'll need to pass a written exam that will be given to you upon completion of the handgun safety course.

Make the most out of your handgun safety course. Not only will it enable you to pass the written exam, but it will also make you a safer and more responsible gun owner.

Expect to spend some money on this process. Handgun safety courses carry a fee, as does the permit application. In addition, the cost of a weapon and ammunition can be substantial depending on what model you purchase.

Gun Permit Application Process

Once you've completed the safety course, submit a handgun carry application, proof of the handgun safety course completion, application fee, and photo ID at any Tennessee driver's license station.

You will be fingerprinted as part of this process. Once you have submitted your application, you will be given a phone number to call to schedule your fingerprinting appointment. Once fingerprinted, the state will conduct a thorough background check.

Within 90 days of submitting all required documents and passing the background check, you will be issued a Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit.

In general, gun carry permits in Tennessee are valid for eight years and are only applicable to the state of Tennessee. If your address changes from the one on your gun permit, you must notify the state within 60 days to obtain an updated license.

Likewise, if your name changes (such as in the event of marriage) and is different than the name on your permit, you'll need to update it. 

Note that retired law enforcement officials and military veterans may be eligible for lifetime carry permits in Tennessee if they meet certain criteria.

Rules about Gun Permits in Tennessee

Once you have your permit, or better yet, before you receive it, make sure you are familiar with where you are not allowed to carry a gun in Tennessee. There are restrictions that apply, which are outlined in the Tennessee State Code