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Legal Information: Tennessee

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of November 27, 2023

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he have or buy a gun?

Tennessee state law says that a person cannot have or buy a gun if s/he:

  1. has been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence, or a deadly weapon;
  2. has been convicted of a felony drug crime; or
  3. has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.1

Tennessee law also says that anyone who has been convicted of a felony is prohibited from having a handgun.2

Note: If a police officer believes that a crime of domestic violence has taken place, the officer can take all weapons, including guns, that the abuser used or threatened to use against you. The officer may also take any weapons that are in plain view at the scene of the crime.3 The weapons will be returned to the abuser if the police find that no crime has been committed.

Also, if someone is sentenced to probation, a court can order that s/he cannot have a gun as a condition of his/her probation.4 A court can also forbid someone to have a gun as a condition of release with bail, if the abuser is arrested for violating a protection order or various other crimes.5

1 TN ST § 39-17-1307(b), (f)
2 TN ST § 39-17-1307(c)
3 TN ST § 36-3-620(a)(1)
4 TN ST § 40-35-303(d)(6)
5 TN ST § 40-11-150(b)(4)

How can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Criminal records are open to the public but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where your abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see, What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?