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Handgun Safety Schools

How to Become a State Certified Handgun Safety School or Certified Handgun Instructor

The information contained on this page is for individuals or companies who are interested in becoming a state certified handgun safety instructor or state certified handgun safety school. Please review the rules and regulations section as well as required documents before submitting your application.

Documents and Fees

You will need to submit the following items with your application(s):

  1. Instructor Fee: $25.00 for certification for a period of three (3) years​
    • Copy of Handgun Instructor Qualifications (NRA Instructor Certificate, Post Certificate...)
    • Completed Additional Qualification Inquiry
  2. Safety School Fee: $50.00 for certification for a period of one (1) year, based on insurance.
    • Insurance Certificate
    • County and Municipal Ordinances Pertaining to Private Handgun Ranges.
    • Permission form from property owner is required if applicant does not own classroom or range.
    • Zoning approval form

Fees can be paid using check or money order made payable to the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Mail all applications, documents and payments to the following address:

Tennessee Department of Safety
Handgun Safety School/Instructor
P.O. Box 23710
Nashville, TN 37202

Applicants may call (615) 687-2303 with any questions about the Handgun Safety School and Instructor material.

Forms and Publications

Rules and Regulations

1. Chapter 1340 - 2 - 3
Department of Safety Approved Handgun Safety Program

This portion of the Rules of the Department of Safety contains the following information:

1340 - 2 - 3 -.01 Purpose and Scope
1340 - 2 - 3 -.02 Definitions
1340 - 2 - 3 -.03 Handgun Training School Requirements
1340 - 2 - 3 -.04 Application Procedures
1340 - 2 - 3 -.05 Handgun Safety Course Requirements
1340 - 2 - 3 -.06 Instructor Requirements
1340 - 2 - 3 -.07 Firing Range Requirements
1340 - 2 - 3 -.08 Fees
1340 - 2 - 3 -.09 Financial Responsibility Requirements
1340 - 2 - 3 -.10 Suspension, Revocation or Denial of Certification
1340 - 2 - 3 -.11 Certificate of Completion for Students
1340 - 2 - 3 -.12 General Requirements

Firing Range Requirements

Revised 03/01/2013

(Download Printable Requirements)

  1. Ranges shall be of adequate size to safely accommodate the number of students being trained.
  2. Ranges are to be constructed in such a manner as to ensure provide for the safety of the students, instructors, and all others in the immediate area.
  3. Ranges shall have a bullet impact backstop (berm) that will stop and render harmless, bullets fired into it from all handgun caliber ammunition from all firing positions. This shall be accomplished without ricocheting projectiles or debris, or striking individuals at the firing line.
  4. All ranges shall provide adequate lighting to allow shooters and instructors to clearly see the targets from all firing positions.
  5. Access to the ranges shall be limited, with controlled points of ingress.
  6. Warning signs, flags, lights and/or audible devices shall be utilized to ensure safety to others.
  7. All ranges shall have a current first aid trauma kit on site.
  8. All ranges must document compliance with all applicable local, county and municipal ordinances.
  9. All firing shall be done on standard silhouette B29 type targets. Steel targets and stands are not allowed.
  10. Anyone on the range providing assistance to students during qualification must be certified as an instructor by this department.
  11. The range shall have warning signs posted at all access points clearly identifying the area as a “firing range”.
  12. Range must have a restroom facility in the immediate area.
  13. The overall safety of any firing range or classroom shall be determined by the Program Director.
  14. Outdoor Range
    • (Height) backstop minimum height is 12 feet. This height is the lowest measurement of the compacted or settled height.
    • (Width) The width of the backstop shall extend a minimum of 8 feet beyond the end target.
    • (Slope) The range side of the backstop (side facing the shooter) must be as steep as possible, but not less than a 45 degree slope or a ratio of 1 to 1.
    • (Thickness) Backstop shall be constructed with a minimum thickness at the top of 4 feet. o All ranges shall comply with T.C.A. 39-17-316.
  15. Indoor Range
    • Backstop and bullet traps shall be constructed of materials capable of stopping the maximum caliber of ammunition allowed on the range.
    • Backstop plates shall have a minimum thickness of .375 inches and shall be angled at 45 degrees.
    • The plating used for backstops and bullet traps shall have manufactures specification of AR- 500.
    • Steel plates supported by concrete or masonry should be anchored by expansion bolt or toggle bolts as suitable for construction, with flush countersunk heads, not more than 12 inches on center of all edges of each plate.
    • Baffles are required and must extend the entire width of the range and downward to cover or protect vulnerable ceiling areas of range fixtures.
    • Walls, ceilings and floors must be impenetrable.
    • Ventilation and filtering system must comply with the OSHA Lead Standard for General Industry, 29 CFR 1910.1025 and all state and local building codes, laws and regulations.