Frequently Asked Questions
- How Do I Obtain a Handgun Carry Permit?
- Can I renew my handgun carry permit before it expires?
- If my handgun carry permit has expired can I still renew?
- What States Recognize Tennessee Handgun Carry Permits?
- How do I Renew A Handgun Carry Permit?
- Does Tennessee require a handgun be concealed?
- Where can handguns not be carried?
- How Do I Obtain Military Training Exception for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351(e)(4)?
- How do I obtain law enforcement and armed security guard EXCEPTION for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351(e)?
- Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you been committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution?
- How do I get the military discount on an original handgun carry permit application?
- What does a retired police officer need in order to apply for a handgun carry permit?
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.
Certificate showing you have completed an eight (8) hour Handgun Safety Course at an approved school. Certificate will only be necessary if the school you attended did not enter your passing score online, proof of US Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency, photo identification such as your Driver License, and NON-REFUNDABLE fee.
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).
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 renewal fee.
If my handgun carry permit has expired can I still renew?
You can renew your handgun carry permit up to one renewal cycle past the expiration date by completing an application and paying the renewal fee. You may not legally carry a weapon on your person 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
P.O. Box 23710
Nashville, TN 37202
If your permit has been expired more than eight (8) years past the renewal date you will need to start the complete process again. This includes completing a handgun safety course, paying the permit fee, being fingerprinted and undergoing a background check.
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.
How do I Renew a Handgun Carry Permit?
- Your handgun carry permit will expire eight (8) 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 eight (8) years 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 eight (8) years past the expiration date, the applicant will have to start the complete application process over again. This includes completing a handgun safety course, paying the fee, being fingerprinted and undergoing a background checks.
- 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 has 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 615-251-8590.
- Complete and sign your application. Mail the application and the fee payable by check or money order to the following address:
Tennessee Department of Safety
Handgun Permit Office
P.O. Box 23710
Nashville, TN 37202
- Incomplete applications cannot be processed.
- FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
Does Tennessee require a handgun be concealed?
No. See Attorney General Opinion 05-154
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 39-17-1321 - Possession of handgun while under influence.
- TCA 39-17-1359 - Prohibition at certain meetings — Posting notice.
- 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.
How Do I Obtain Military Training Exception for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351(e)(4)?
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 the applicant successfully completed all handgun training of not less than four (4) hours as required by any branch of the military.
Military personnel who have completed four (4) hours of handgun training and who provide proof of that training on one of the forms listed below may be exempt from taking the handgun safety course altogether.
If you did not complete four (4) hours of handgun training or you can’t provide proof of the training on one of the forms listed above, you may be eligible to only take the classroom portion of the handgun safety class if under §39-17-1351 (e)
Military personnel who have successfully completed small arms qualification training or combat pistol training listed on their DD214 forms that reflect an honorable discharged may be exempt from taking the firing range portion of the handgun safety class; however, they are required to take the classroom portion of the handgun safety class.
OR under §39-17-1351(y)
Military personnel whose DD214 reflects specialized training (e.g., military police, special operations, or special forces) and an honorable discharge will be exempt from taking the firing range portion of the handgun safety class. They are required to take the classroom portion of the handgun safety class.
Active duty military personnel will need to provide proof of training on one of the forms listed in section A above.
In order to be eligible to receive the military discount fee, military personnel will need to provide their DD214, showing that they were honorably discharged, or provide their current, valid active duty military ID. The fee is $68 for an eight year permit or $268 for a lifetime permit. Military personnel will also need the following:
- Proof of United States Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/safety/driver-services/classd/dlcitizen.html
- Proof of residency if the applicant does not present a valid Tennessee driver license or ID.
- Social Security Number
- Payment (Note: the Department does not accept personal checks on original handgun permit applications)
- DD214 or valid active duty military ID
- Proof of training in the form of a document listed in the list A, above or proof of completion of handgun safety classroom portion. (Note: if the handgun safety school entered your information online, the department will already have this information in our computer system.)
- Note: Military personnel will be required to complete a handgun carry permit application if they have not already completed one online within the past six (6) months.
The Department will take a photo of military personnel and capture their electronic signatures. Then, the driver license examiner will provide further information on how to register to be fingerprinted, which is required before the permit can be issued.
NOTE: The Department will also accept an NGB55 form from members of the National Guard who receive an honorable discharge; this form would take the place of a DD214. Completion of the requisite safety course or of the required military exemption information must be entered, and the Military Service block checked for processing, as appropriate.
How do I obtain law enforcement and armed security guard EXCEPTION for the eight hour handgun training course required by TCA 39-17-1351(e)?
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||Nuclear Fuel Services Police Officer|
|Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI)|
|Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA)|
|Tennessee Office of Inspector General|
|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||Berry Hill Police Department|
|Clarksville Police Department|
|Metropolitan Nashville Police Department|
|Vanderbilt University Police|
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.
Have you ever been adjudicated as a mental defective or have you been committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution?
Under 2009 Public Chapter 578, effective January 1, 2010, the applicant should answer ‘yes’ if he or she has been judicially committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution pursuant to title 33 (otherwise known as ‘involuntary commitment’).
An applicant who was voluntarily committed is legally able to answer ‘no’ to Questions 13(A).
A person who was judicially/involuntarily committed and who answers ‘no’ to Question 13(A) is making a false statement under penalty of perjury.
T.C.A.§39-17-1351(c) (12) - That the applicant has not been adjudicated as a mental defective, has not been judicially committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution pursuant to title 33, has not had a court appoint a conservator for the applicant by reason of a mental defect, has not been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of mental illness, developmental disability or other mental incapacity, and has not, within seven (7) years from the date of application, been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm, as defined in title 33, chapter 6, part 5, because of mental illness;;
How do I get the military discount on an original handgun carry permit application?
T.C.A.§39-17-1351(p)(1) – Any person, who has been honorably discharged from any branch of the United States Armed Forces or who is on active duty in any branch of the Armed Forces or who is currently serving in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve, and who makes initial application for a handgun carry permit shall be required to pay only that portion of the initial application fee that is necessary to conduct the required criminal history record checks.
The current military discounted fee is $68.
Acceptable documents to show active military or honorable discharge:
Military Active Duty ID card, DD214 showing “Honorably discharged” or a NGB55.
What does a retired police officer need in order to apply for a handgun carry permit?
- Print this form, you will need to complete the top portion of the form and take to your Human Resource Office or Chief Law Enforcement Officer to complete the bottom portion of the form.
- Provide CERTIFIED PROOF of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency (no photocopies).
- Submit application at any full service Driver License Service Center location.
- Applicant is required to present a photo ID to the department at the time of filing the application.
- Pay non-refundable application fee payable by cash, certified check, or money order.
- When the application is processed at the driver service center, the applicant will be given instructions on being fingerprinted.
Incomplete applications cannot be processed.
FEES ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.