Page Last Modified: Nov 4, 2017 @ 2:36 pm

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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.


Types of Concealed Carry Permits

1) Resident

  • Must reside in Tennessee
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Costs:
    • 8 year permit: $100 (+$Safety Course)
    • Lifetime permit: $300 (+$Safety Course

2) Non-Resident

  • Must have a concealed carry permit in your state of residence
  • Must be employed in Tennessee for at least 30 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months before qualifying to apply
  • Must be at least 21 years old
  • Costs:
    • 8 year permit: $100 (+$Safety Course)
    • Lifetime permit: $300 (+$Safety Course

Is it Required to Carry Concealed?

No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed carry permit.

May Issue or Shall Issue?

Tennessee is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.

Process to Apply


To get a TN concealed carry permit as a resident, you can apply to the Department of Safety at any full service Driver Service Center.  As of June 2017, resident applicants can apply online here.

  1. Complete an 8 hour handgun safety course approved by the Department of Safety.
    • Note: Tennessee doesn’t maintain a list of current approved instructors or courses. Consult a Driver Service Center or the Department of Safety to find an approved course.
  2. Go to your nearest full service Driver Service Center to complete the application. Find a location here. Bring the following items:
    1. A copy of the training certificate that proves you completed an approved handgun course.
    2. Your TN state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
    3. Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residency. Make sure it is one of the items listed here.
    4. Application fee: $100 for an 8 year license, $300 for a lifetime license.
  3. After submitting these items, the Driver Service Center will give you instructions on how to get a full set of fingerprints taken to initiate your criminal background check.

After these steps are completed, the Department of Safety is legally required to inform you in 90 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.


To get a TN concealed carry permit as a non-resident, you must:

  1. Have a concealed carry permit in your state of residence.
  2. Have been employed in TN for 30 hours a week for at least the past 6 months.

If you meet both conditions above, the application process is the same as above for residents.

Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved

If the applicant meets any of the following conditions, his/her application is almost guaranteed to be denied:

  1. You are illegally in the United States.
  2. You’ve been convicted of a felony.
  3. You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
  4. You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
  5. You’ve been convicted of a DUI within the last 5 years.
  6. You’ve been convicted of a DUI 2 or more times within the last 10 years
  7. You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
  8. You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
  9. You have a mental illness.
  10. You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
  11. You are a fugitive from justice.
  12. You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  13. You are subject to a firearms seizure order.

Location Restrictions for Carrying

It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:

  • Federal buildings.
  • Federal prisons.
  • Prisons, jails, correctional facilities, or anywhere prisoners are held.
  • Courthouses, or anywhere judicial proceedings are in progress.
  • Indian reservations.
  • Post offices.
  • Military bases.
  • School grounds, including colleges and universities. This includes athletic fields and other school owned/operated property.
  • Houses of worship when used by a school.
  • Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
  • Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
  • Any campground or recreational area owned or operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout TN

With a Concealed Carry Permit

If you have a TN or TN recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a loaded handgun on your person (open or concealed) in a vehicle.

Without a Concealed Carry Permit

If you do not possess a TN or TN recognized concealed carry permit, you can transport a loaded handgun (open or concealed) in your vehicle. However, you cannot carry the firearm with the intent to go armed – meaning you can’t have the firearm on you.

Additional Notes About TN Handgun Law

Does TN Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?


The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.

Does TN Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?


The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.

This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.

Reciprocity – What State Permits Does TN Recognize?

ALL. TN honors every other states’ concealed carry permits.

Reciprocity – Where is the TN Permit Recognized?

The TN concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states:

TN Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity

Page Updates

  • June 17, 2017 – Info and link added for residents to apply online.


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  1. I drive a truck,and travel through Tennessee frequently, I also have a Indiana CCW,am I eligible to receive a non-resident Tennessee CCW?

  2. To be eligible for a Tennessee non-resident concealed carry license, you must meet the following criteria:

    1) 21+
    2) Have a concealed carry in your state of residence
    3) Must be employed in Tennessee for at least 30 hours a week for a minimum of 6 months

    Sound like you likely meet the first 2, but perhaps not the 3rd. A good way to tell if you’re ’employed’ in Tennessee is if you pay income taxes in Tennessee. If you simply drive through Tennessee, but don’t pay income taxes there, then you DO NOT meet the 3rd criterium.

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