top of page

Tennessee Gun Permit Data

“Shall-issue” refers to licensing standards that require state authorities to grant permits to carry firearms in public to any individual that meets a very minimum standard, such as passing a basic background check and completion of a basic firearms safety and training class.  “Shall-issue” is sometimes referred to as “right-to-carry” or RTC.

“May-issue” refers to licensing standards that gives law enforcement discretion over granting permits.  Applicants are evaluated based on proof of their good character and their stated need to carry a gun in public.

Not only is Tennessee a shall-issue, or right-to-carry state, in 2019, the Tennessee supermajority passed legislation to create a new concealed carry permit that only required applicants to undergo a background check and watch a short online video for $65. This law went into effect in 2020. The prior Tennessee gun permit that requires applicants to attend a firearm safety and training class is now called an enhanced carry permit and costs $100.

In a move to further weaken the permitting system, in 2021, the Tennessee supermajority passed legislation to no longer require any type of gun permit to carry a firearm in public, meaning individuals who have not undergone a background check or demonstrated any type of basic firearm proficiency whatsoever may carry a gun in public.

The permitless carry legislation was opposed by law enforcement organization from across the state, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Tennessee Sheriffs’ Association and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.

In 2015, the General Assembly passed legislation to allow individuals to obtain a lifetime gun permit that allowed applicants to pay $500 for a permit that would not require renewals.

Permit data provided by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.  A summary of statistics on handgun permits from 2011 through 2022 can be found below table.  Cause for suspension or revocation of handgun permits in the Tennessee Code (TCA 39-17-1352), can be found here

bottom of page