There’s always a process when it comes to purchasing a firearm. Figuring out how to buy a gun in Tennessee is straightforward, though, because the state has some of the country’s most relaxed firearms regulations. The gist is that state residents with U.S. citizenship can make purchases from licensed dealers without a permit if they aren’t prohibited from doing so.
There are other laws you’ll want to be aware of because your right to buy a gun doesn’t mean you can take it everywhere with you. Tennessee has new laws that allow all residents to open or concealed carry without a permit, but there are some places where these laws don’t protect you. Firearms training can get you up to speed on the laws that pertain to your location and situation.
It’s a good idea to understand any legal issues and the state’s available permits before purchasing a firearm in the state. This guide will explain how to buy a gun in Tennessee and provide insight on the licenses you need to protect your gun rights.
How Background Checks Work in Tennessee
Background checks are mandatory when purchasing a weapon from any federally licensed gun dealer in the country. Tennessee is no different, as you’ll have to complete this paperwork to ensure you’re legally permitted to own a gun in the United States. Here’s how it works:
Show Your ID
You’ll begin by handing your identification to the employee at the gun dealer. This ID can be your birth certificate, passport, certificate of citizenship, or U.S. citizen identification card, to name a few options.
Complete the Background Check
Tennessee is a point-of-contact state, which means all background checks go through the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI uses state and federal background checks to ensure you aren’t prohibited from owning a gun in the United States. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation might require the dealer to send your thumbprint if there’s any question about the purchaser’s identity.
What the Background Check Is Looking For
The purpose of the background check is to ensure you aren’t banned from purchasing and owning a gun. It will look for felony convictions, mental health concerns, protective orders, and substance abuse issues on your record before allowing the sale to proceed. An appeal process is available for anyone denied the right to purchase for any reason.
Background checks in Tennessee generally take minutes, so you won’t find yourself sitting in the gun shop all day. It’s also worth mentioning that these checks aren’t required when purchasing a firearm through a private sale.
7 Steps to Buy a Gun in Tennessee
Most people will have little trouble making their gun purchase in the state. It’s worthwhile to prepare yourself by researching the process, though, to avoid any surprises or issues. Here’s a breakdown of the steps:
1. Find a Dealer
The first decision in the gun-buying process is selecting a licensed dealer in your state. Most retailers will have a good selection of firearms available and can offer guidance as you make a decision.
2. Save Some Money
You should know that firearms can be expensive, so you’ll want to save up some money before heading to the dealer. It’s worth noting that licensed dealers will often take credit cards, but you’ll probably need cash if making a private purchase.
3. Choose a Firearm
The next step is selecting the type of firearm you wish to acquire. The laws for handguns and long guns are similar, except that you must be 21 to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, but only 18 to purchase a long gun. The firearm choice you make will likely come down to its intended purpose and your personal preferences.
4. Pass the Background Check
You’ll have to pass the background check before the gun dealer can finalize the purchase. Felony convictions involving violence, weapons, or drugs will prohibit you from owning a firearm in the state.
5. Take the Gun Home
You can take your firearm home after completing the background check and paying for it, unlike some states with waiting periods. Tennessee residents can legally carry their loaded weapons inside their personal vehicles, so no permit is required when taking your gun home. It’s also legal to keep your gun at home or your place of business without a license or permit.
6. Learn Tennessee’s Laws
A new law making it legal for all gun owners in Tennessee to open carry or concealed carry their weapons without a permit came into effect on July 1, 2021. This law could eliminate the need for additional licenses through the state government. Local gun advocates note that these laws don’t allow for legal gun possession everywhere in the state, though.
7. Get a Handgun Carry Permit
Open carry and concealed carry permits are available through the state government. The state also offers an Enhanced Handgun Carry Permit for both open and concealed carry, and it must be renewed every eight years. There’s also a lifetime version of the permit for an additional fee, and specialized training is required before applying.
Expert firearms trainers can help you understand what you can and can’t do with your gun and where you’re allowed to carry it. Exploring the training options is a worthwhile step any gun owner can take to protect their freedoms.
Your Go-To for Professional Concealed Carry Training
Many questions surrounding Tennessee’s new firearm carry laws exist, and you would be wise to learn your rights and responsibilities before you buy a gun in Tennessee. Concealed Coalition has helped over a million people nationwide get the permit that certifies they know local laws and understand how to use their weapon responsibly.
Your classes will also explain where you’re allowed to bring your gun legally. Contact Concealed Coalition for more information on your firearm educational needs, or schedule a class today.