One glance at the evening news shows that one of the hottest news topics is gun control, especially in light of the recent Sandy Hook shooting. Tennessee recently became connected to the debate.
In January, State Representative Joe Carr (R-Murfreesboro) proposed legislation making it a misdemeanor for federal law enforcement to enforce any new federal gun bans in Tennessee. Carr’s announcement comes after Republican legislators in Wyoming and Texas proposed similar legislation. Carr said he offered the proposal to allow residents to defend themselves from tyranny.
While many doubt the constitutionality of such legislation — states are constitutionally forbidden to pass a statute that blocks enforcement of an otherwise enforceable federal law — it raises questions as to the current status of gun law in Tennessee.
In Tennessee, the right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution. A license is required to carry a loaded handgun openly or concealed. However, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances:
Inside any room in which judicial proceedings are in progress
In a public or private school building, bus, campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or any other property owned or used by an educational institution
While under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance
Where any individual, business, or government property has posted notices prohibiting the carrying of a concealed firearm
A bill was recently introduced that would give gun owners in Tennessee the right to carry their weapons in their vehicles anywhere else they want, including school and workplace parking lots. The status of this important bill bears watching.
Tennessee recognizes another state’s license to carry if that state also recognizes Tennessee’s license. Tennessee also recognizes the handgun carry permits of any state that issues them, regardless of reciprocity agreements between the states.
It’s important to know your gun carry rights so you don’t run afoul of the law. If you run into a problem, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately.