Reference Number: 
CTAS-575

Guns on School Property.  Pursuant to TCA § 39-17-1309, 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. It is not an offense 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. 

Guns in Parks.  Pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-1311, it is legal for persons with a valid handgun carry permit to carry a handgun while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place owned or operated by the state, a county, a municipality, or instrumentality of the state, a county, or municipality. However, it is illegal for a person with a handgun carry permit to carry a habdgun on such property while it is in use 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 for the purpose of conducting an athletic event or other school-related activity on an athletic field, permanent or temporary, including but not limited to, a football or soccer field, tennis court, basketball court, track, running trail, Frisbee field, or similar multi-use field; and the person knew or should have known the athletic activity or school-related activity was taking place on the property; or failed to take reasonable steps to leave the area of the athletic event or school-related activity after being informed of or becoming aware of its use. See Op. Tenn. Att'y Gen.15-63 (July 29, 2015) (Possession of Firearms in Public Parks Owned by Counties and Municipalities).

Guns in County Buildings.  Pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-1359, a local government entity or agent thereof is authorized to prohibit the possession of weapons by any person who is at a meeting conducted by, or on property owned, operated, or managed or under the control of the government entity. The prohibition also applies to a person who is authorized to carry a firearm pursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-1351.

Guns in Trunks. Notwithstanding T.C.A. § 39-17-1309, T.C.A. § 39-17-1311, or T.C.A. § 39-17-1359, unless expressly prohibited by federal law, the holder of a valid handgun carry permit recognized in Tennessee may transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in the permit holder's privately owned motor vehicle while on or utilizing any public or private parking area if-    

(1) The permit holder's vehicle is parked in a location where it is permitted to be; and

(2) The firearm or ammunition being transported or stored in the vehicle:

      (A) Is kept from ordinary observation if the permit holder is in the motor vehicle; or

      (B) Is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the person's motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to such motor vehicle if the permit holder is not in the motor vehicle. T.C.A. § 39-17-1313.

A handgun carry permit holder transporting, storing or both transporting and storing a firearm or firearm ammunition does not violate the law if the firearm or firearm ammunition is observed by another person or security device during the ordinary course of the handgun carry permit holder securing the firearm or firearm ammunition from observation in or on a motor vehicle.

Pursuant to T.C.A. § 50-1-312, no employer may discharge or take any adverse employment action against an employee solely for transporting or storing a firearm or firearm ammunition in an employer parking area in a manner consistent with T.C.A. § 39-17-1313. An employee discharged, or subject to an adverse employment action, in violation of T.C.A. § 50-1-312 (b)(1)(A) shall have a cause of action against the employer to enjoin future acts in violation of this section and to recover economic damages plus reasonable attorney fees and costs.

Except as otherwise provided in T.C.A. § 39-17-1313 for parking areas, nothing in T.C.A. § 50-1-312 shall be construed as prohibiting an employer from prohibiting firearms or firearm ammunition on the premises of the employer.