Weapons Or Firearms Charges

Although the Second Amendment provides rights for citizens to "bear arms," the Tennessee Legislature has an abundance of laws governing the use of weapons and firearms, including the following:

  • Prohibited Weapons (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1302)
    • A person commits an offense who intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells:
      • (1) An explosive or an explosive weapon;
      • (2) A device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon;
      • (3) A machine gun;
      • (4) A short-barrel rifle or shotgun;
      • (5) A firearm silencer;
      • (6) Hoax device;
      • (7) A switchblade knife or knuckles; or
      • (8) Any other implement for infliction of serious bodily injury or death that has no common lawful purpose.
  • Unlawful Sale, Loan or Gift of Firearm (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1303)
    • A person commits an offense who:
      • (1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sells, loans or makes a gift of a firearm or switchblade knife to a minor;
      • (2) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sells a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to a person who is intoxicated; or
      • (3) Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence violates the provisions of § 39-17-1316.
  • Unlawful Carrying or Possession of a Weapon (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1307)
    • A person commits an offense who carries with the intent to go armed a firearm, a knife with a blade length exceeding four inches (4″), or a club.
    • A person commits an offense who possesses a firearm, as defined in § 39-11-106, and:
      • (A) Has been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force, violence or a deadly weapon; or
      • (B) Has been convicted of a felony drug offense.
    • A person commits an offense who possesses a handgun and has been convicted of a felony.
  • Carrying Weapons on School Property (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1309)
    • It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in 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.
      • (2) A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class E felony.
    • It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any firearm, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in 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. It is not an offense under this subsection (c) for a nonstudent adult to possess a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by the adult, or by any other person acting with the expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property.
      • (2) A violation of this subsection (c) is a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Sales of Dangerous Weapons (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1316)
    • It is an offense for a person to purchase or attempt to purchase a firearm knowing that the person is prohibited by state or federal law from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm.
    • It is an offense to sell or offer to sell a firearm to a person knowing that the person is prohibited by state or federal law from owning, possessing or purchasing a firearm.
    • A violation of this subsection is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Possession of a Handgun While Under the Influence (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1321)
    • (a) Notwithstanding whether a person has a permit issued pursuant to § 39-17-1315 or § 39-17-1351, it is an offense for a person to possess a handgun while under the influence of alcohol or any controlled substance.
    • (b) It is an offense for a person to possess a firearm if the person is both:
      • (1) Within the confines of an establishment open to the public where liquor, wine or other alcoholic beverages, as defined in § 57-3-101(a)(1)(A), or beer, as defined in § 57-6-102(1), are served for consumption on the premises; and
      • (2) Consuming any alcoholic beverage listed in subdivision (1) of this subsection (b).
  • Possession of Firearm During Commission of Felony (Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1324)
    • In addition to the penalties for violation of this state crime, there may be severe federal law penalties for possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
    • (a) It is an offense to possess a firearm with the intent to go armed during the commission of or attempt to commit a dangerous felony.
    • (b) It is an offense to employ a firearm during the:
      • (1) Commission of a dangerous felony;
      • (2) Attempt to commit a dangerous felony;
      • (3) Flight or escape from the commission of a dangerous felony; or
      • (4) Flight or escape from the attempt to commit a dangerous felony.

Contact Our Firm

If you have been charged with any of the weapons charges mentioned above, you need to contact a lawyer right away. Only a lawyer with experience successfully handling weapons charges can help you create a strong defense against aggressive prosecution, whether it's at the state level or the federal level.

At McKellar & Easter, Attorneys at Law, our criminal defense team is led by attorney Norman D. McKellar, who has considerable experience successfully defending the rights of clients throughout Tennessee and the country. Let us build a defense strategy that will hold up both inside and outside the courtroom.

To schedule a free initial telephone consultation with one of our lawyers, call 865-566-0125 or send us an email. We accept credit cards.