How To Buy A Gun in Tennessee (2022 UPDATED) Full Guide

How to Buy a Gun in Tennessee
Alfred Mendoza

Tennessee gun laws have expanded and allowed almost all adults to carry a gun wherever they go, even without a permit. However, certain requirements must be met.

Our team spent 36 hours researching and coming up with a guide to help you figure out how you can purchase a gun in the state of Tennessee!

4 Requirements in Buying a Gun in Tennessee

1. Minimum Age Requirement 

Tennessee’s state or federal law firmly claims that no one is allowed to sell, loan, or give a minor a gun regardless of the reason (for hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, or sport shooting). 

Residents are only allowed to own a firearm if they are at least 21 years of age [1]. This is the age where Federal law considers your mental capacity sufficient and acknowledges that you are responsible enough to own a gun. 

2. State ID 

Aside from the age limit, your state ID is essential if you want to carry a Tennessee gun legally. This is a part of the background checking process where you will fill up a form and present a government-issued ID that shows your present address. 

Thirty days must have passed since the ID is issued, or you can present any records proving that it has been at least 30 days.

3. Background Check

According to the Tennessee gun laws, you can get a permit and have your firearm after successfully passing the background checking process. 

Tennessee firearm dealers must have the initiative to do it by approaching the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) (unless you are purchasing a machine gun or antique firearms).

Any firearm purchaser can be granted a gun if they are proven to not be of serious harm to society if they haven’t been convicted of any cases like domestic violence or used deadly force to harm another person, if they have no records of mental illness and if they are law-abiding citizens.

Pass The Background Check

Difference in Requirements Between Buying from a Licensed vs Private Dealer

Buying from licensed dealers will require your handgun permit and a background check along the process. According to the Tennessee department, there are no provisions or policies for private transactions with unlicensed dealers. 

Sometimes, background checks are not mandatory when dealing with private dealers. This gives an unlawful user or someone who has been adjudicated as “mental defective” access to firearms, which may, later on, lead to a serious felony involving the gun they purchased.

Why Would Someone Be Ineligible to Buy a Gun in Tennessee?

Why Would Someone Be Ineligible to Buy a Gun in Tennessee
  • A person would be ineligible to buy a Tennesse gun if they have failed the criminal history record check.
  • They also cannot be a permit holder if they are proven to have controlled substance abuse, has a court appoint mental defect, have an ongoing rehabilitation program in a mental institution, has an immediate substantial likelihood of causing harm to other people, have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, or if such person has other mental incapacity.
  • A person can’t possess a long gun if they have been judicially determined of a felony drug offense and felony conviction, especially those involving deadly force.
  • The firearms purchaser will not grant the purchaser a gun if they are likely to cause serious bodily injury to themselves or those around them.
  • A person also cannot own machine guns if other federal laws prohibit them.
  • Lastly, a person cannot have a Tennesse gun if they are considered an illegal alien.

Open Carry vs Concealed Carry Laws

You can legally carry your firearms in restaurants, private cars, roadside areas, state forests and parks, worship places, and even in your motor vehicle if there is no notice prohibiting them. However, open carry and any deadly weapon are deemed illegal at schools, courthouses, prisons, bars, and airports.

On the other hand, Tennessee allows concealed carry owners not to bring a concealed carry permit in public as long as their firearm has undergone the necessary legal processes. Note that a concealed handgun is also not allowed in schools, judicial meetings, and public parks.


No, the state does not require a specific time or waiting period when purchasing a firearm. However, if there is a delay in the background check process due to the incomplete documents of the sellers, the waiting period may take longer than expected.

Yes, you can buy a firearm even without a Tennessee handgun carry permit as long as you are 21 years old and above. If you are below 21 years old, you must present evidence that justifies your purchase, like legitimate documentation from a law enforcement agency. You may also buy a gun if you’re practicing for a firearms event (as long as your parent or guardian accompanies you).

Yes, you can buy a gun in Tennessee even if you live in another state. However, you cannot have lawful possession of the firearm unless it has been transferred by the firearms licensed dealer in your name. If you are unsure of what step to take, you can always seek legal advice from experts.

I’m Ready to Buy a Gun in Tennessee!

Tennessee gun laws must be strictly observed if you are looking to purchase a gun in their state. Take note that they conduct background checks even if you have a CCW permit from a licensed firearms dealer to ensure that you are carrying a legal and registered firearm.

If you are on your own property, you may carry a firearm as long as you will exhibit proper handgun use and be a responsible firearm owner. Different states have different laws, so make sure to do in-depth research to avoid the unlawful carrying of guns in other states.

Remember that most information on online communities doesn’t constitute legal advice. If you want to know more about state-specific gun laws, you can always ask our experts in the field.



1 thought on “How To Buy A Gun in Tennessee (2022 UPDATED) Full Guide”

  1. I attempted to buy another handgun today in Tennessee and was denied because of the background check. I have filed an appeal and will follow up on this as soon as the 15 day period passes. I have purchased 2 handguns in 2018 without any problems. I can’t help but think that this is just a delay tactic and a method of getting the number of people denied on record. Nothing has changed as far as my background since the previous purchase. Tennessee has implemented a law that allows people to buy a handgun without having a background check done. I guess that it is the seller who ultimately decides whether you can buy a handgun without the background check.

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