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“Gun Free Zones” and Your Right to Carry

Law Office of Joshua S. Reed Nov. 16, 2023

According to WiseVoter.com, 46.9% of Tennessee residents own a firearm. As advocates for responsible gun ownership, we understand the importance of knowing the ins and outs of gun laws in Tennessee. One topic that often raises questions among gun owners is the concept of “Gun Free Zones. ” It's essential to understand what these zones are, where they exist, and how they affect your right to carry.  

At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we're here to help you navigate these complex laws. Our attorney is dedicated to achieving positive outcomes for our clients throughout Knoxville, Farragut, Anderson County, Blount County, Union County, Maryville County, Oak Ridge County, Loudon County, and Clinton County. So, if you have any questions or need further clarification, don't hesitate to reach out to our firm

What Are "Gun Free Zones"?

So, what exactly are "Gun Free Zones"? These are specific areas where firearms are not allowed. The purpose of their establishment is to bolster public safety by mitigating the risk of gun-related incidents. These establishments are intended to cultivate a sense of security, providing people with a safe haven, free from the looming threat of firearms. 

Now, you might be wondering, where do these zones exist in Tennessee? Well, our state laws and regulations have designated several places as gun-free. These include:  

  • Hospitals;  

  • places of worship like churches, mosques, and synagogues;  

  • sporting arenas;  

  • gambling facilities;  

  • polling places during elections; and  

  • buildings where legal proceedings are ongoing.  

It's important to note that property owners, businesses, or government entities can also prohibit the possession of firearms during meetings conducted on their property. Handgun carry permit holders aren't exempt from this prohibition, but property owners may make an exception for concealed carry by authorized individuals. 

Understanding and respecting these zones is a critical aspect of responsible gun ownership. As a gun owner, it's your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these zones and adhere to their regulations. Failure to comply could result in severe legal repercussions. So stay informed, be responsible, and exercise your right to carry responsibly.  

Can You Carry in Gun-Free Zones?

Navigating the rules surrounding carrying in gun-free zones can be tricky. As a general guideline, unless you have a valid handgun carry permit, you cannot carry firearms when you're in a gun-free zone.  

Individuals with a valid handgun carry permit in Tennessee are typically exempt from this prohibition. However, bear in mind that private property owners or entities conducting meetings on their property have the power to prohibit firearms, regardless of permit status.  

Open Carry Laws in Tennessee

At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we understand how important it is for you to know your rights when it comes to open carry laws in Tennessee. Here's what you need to know. 

  • Tennessee generally allows the possession of a firearm in public places where alcoholic beverages are served for on-premises consumption. However, this is only if the individual possessing the firearm isn't consuming alcohol. 

  • It's crucial to remember that if you're a handgun carry permit holder and you violate this provision, you could face a three-year suspension of your permit. That's not a situation you'd want to find yourself in, is it? 

  • Now, let's talk about carrying firearms during judicial proceedings. In Tennessee, it's prohibited to carry a firearm while inside any building where these proceedings are ongoing. No exceptions here. 

  • Also, Tennessee law restricts carrying firearms in certain areas like refuges, public hunting areas, or wildlife management areas frequented by big game, except during specific or lawful open hunting seasons. 

  • Local governments can't prevent concealed carry permit holders from possessing handguns on their property unless certain security measures are in place. 

But what happens if someone violates this prohibition? Well, it's not a situation you'd want to find yourself in. Violating these weapon restrictions can lead to serious consequences, including possible criminal charges, fines, and even imprisonment. 

Remember, these are just general guidelines. If you're uncertain about your right to own or carry your firearm, don't hesitate to consult with a criminal defense attorney to understand the specific laws and regulations that apply to you. 

How a Criminal Attorney Can Help

This is where our firm comes in. As the lead attorney at the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, Mr. Reed can help you navigate these complex laws and regulations surrounding firearms and firearm-free zones. We believe in the responsible exercise of gun rights and work tirelessly to ensure our clients comply with all applicable laws. 

Moreover, if you've lost your gun rights due to previous convictions or other circumstances, we can assist you in restoring those rights. We know that understanding your specific right to carry firearms in gun-free zones can be confusing. That's why we're here to provide the guidance and support you need. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns. Remember, your rights matter, and we're here to help you protect them.