Gun/Firearms Crimes Attorney
in Knoxville & Farragut, Tennessee
Tennessee is among a majority of states that permit open carry – that is, to carry a handgun in public without a permit but subject to both federal and state regulations. Some states also allow municipalities to set their standards, but Tennessee, as of July 1, 2021, is among the states where a citizen, who is by law eligible to purchase a gun and is either 21 or a military member 18 years or older, can carry a gun without a permit.
According to the website EveryStat, Tennessee also has the 14th highest rate of gun violence in the United States, with an average of 1,193 people dying each year from guns and 2,220 being injured. Suicides account for 48 percent of the total and homicides 38 percent.
Homicide or attempted homicide are naturally two of the most grievous gun-related charges that can be levied against an individual, but even in a Constitutional Carry state like Tennessee, lawmakers have enacted many other laws restricting the use and modifications of firearms and guns, and even their purchase in many situations.
If you have been charged with a gun crime in or around Knoxville or Farragut, Tennessee, contact the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed. Our criminal defense team is knowledgeable and experienced in all of the state’s laws regarding guns and firearms and will work with you to exercise your rights and defend yourself against any charge. We proudly serve clients in surrounding counties, including Anderson, Blount, Union, Maryville, Oak Ridge, and Clinton, Tennessee.
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Gun & Firearms Charges in Tennessee
Though you have to be only 18 to purchase a long gun or shotgun in Tennessee, for a handgun you need to be 21. There is also a restriction against people with certain felonies on their records, barring them from purchasing or owning guns.
These restrictions apply to those with convictions for murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, burglary, kidnapping, carjacking, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, felony child abuse, and aggravated child abuse, as well as other crimes. The restriction also applies to anyone convicted of a felony drug offense or a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon.
Depending on the previous felony conviction and whether the weapon owned is a handgun or firearm, penalties can range from one to 30 years in prison, along with a fine of $3,000 to $25,000.
Other laws dealing with handguns and firearms include:
PROHIBITED WEAPONS: Explosives or explosive weapons; machine guns; short-barreled rifles and shotguns, as well as a firearm silencer.
UNLAWFUL SALE, LOAN, OR GIFT OF FIREARM: Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly selling, loaning, or gifting a firearm to a minor or someone who is intoxicated.
CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY: You cannot carry openly or concealed any weapon on any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field, or any other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.
SALE OF DANGEROUS WEAPONS: It is illegal to sell to or buy from a person who is prohibited by state or federal law from owning, possessing, or purchasing a firearm.
POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE: With or without a permit, it is illegal to possess a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
POSSESSION OF A FIREARM DURING COMMISSION OF A FELONY: Both state and federal laws prohibit the employment of a firearm during an attempted or actual dangerous felony, or while trying to flee the scene of such a dangerous felony.
Buying, Possessing, and
Carrying Laws in Tennessee
As mentioned earlier, you must be 21 to buy a handgun under federal law but only 18 to purchase a long gun or shotgun. If you purchase your firearm from a licensed dealer, federal law requires you to undergo a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), but if you buy from a private seller, no background check is required. This includes gun shows, yard sales, and even online. (See restrictions above on those with felony convictions.)
On July 1, 2021, a law took effect that created an exception to the Tennessee law that prohibits the possession of a firearm with “the intent to go armed.” As a result, anyone 21 or older or 18 and older and a veteran or on active duty, has a right to “permitless” open and concealed carry.
Tennessee also offers a concealed handgun carry permit (CHCP) to anyone taking a 90-minute online course. In addition, an enhanced handgun carry permit (EHCP) is available by taking an eight-hour live training course. The EHCP allows for open or concealed carry in more places.
Tennessee is a “Castle Doctrine” state and has a “stand your ground” law. This means that you do not have to retreat in the face of serious bodily injury or death and can use a firearm in self-defense if there are “reasonable” grounds. This also applies if you are defending a third person in danger. You can also use force against an individual or individuals who threaten your real or personal property, but deadly force is not justified in any situation unless otherwise permitted under state law.
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Though Tennessee is among those states that take a broad interpretation of the Second Amendment and protect the rights of gun owners as fully as possible, it’s still common to run afoul of the law, sometimes without even realizing it. This is why it is vital to reach out to a practiced criminal defense attorney that can review your situation.
At the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed, we can provide personalized attention to your case. We will stand by you throughout the legal process and fight for your rights and for the best possible outcome, relying on our resources, knowledge, and experience in helping others in situations like yours.
Gun/Firearms Crimes Attorney
Serving Knoxville & Farragut, Tennessee
If you find yourself under investigation or being charged with a gun law, you need to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the Law Office of Joshua S. Reed if a gun charge threatens to disrupt your life and put you in jeopardy of legal consequences. We serve clients like you throughout Knoxville, Farragut, and everywhere in the counties of Anderson, Blount, Union, Maryville, Oak Ridge, and Clinton, Tennessee.