Tennessee Firearms Laws

» Tennessee Constitution

The Tennessee Constitution (Wikipedia info) was initially written in 1796. At that time it protected the right of “freemen” to keep and bear arms. Click here to learn more…

» Tennessee Laws and Statutes

Tennessee has numerous statutes that address the use and ownership of firearms. Click here to learn more…

» Significant Tennessee Court Decisions

There are many, many court decisions in Tennessee which apply and interpret Tennessee’s firearms, sport shooting and deadly force laws.  A complete review or even listing of those cases is beyond the scope of this site.  One resource is John Harris’ book on Carrying a Handgun for Self Defense in Tennessee which does review cases relevant to each carry law statute.

Some of the cases which are significant include the following:

» Federal Constitution

» Federal Laws

» Significant Federal Court Decisions

  • District of Columbia v. Heller US 07-290 (June 26, 2008).  The United States Supreme Court rules in a narrowly decided 5 to 4 decision that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects an individual right to keep and bear “common” firearms.  Its a significant opinion and resolves only a small number of issues.  It raises many more such as the scope of the individual right, what types of firearms are “common” (for example, would an M-16 or a Thompson submachine gun be more “common” if the number in private ownership was not limited by federal enactment?)
  • United States v. Robert Stewart, No. 02-10318, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, November 13, 2003. (Holding homemade machineguns may not – under specific circumstances – be regulated by the Federal Government because no “interstate commerce”).
  • United States v. Albert Marlowe, No. 3:02-00141, Mid. Dist. Tenn. Feb 14, 2003. (Extensive analysis of the federal and state restoration statutes.)
  • United States v. Timothy Emerson, No. 99-10331 (5th Cir. Nov. 2, 2001)(Extensive historical analysis of the Second Amendment.)
  • Printz v. United States, No. 95-1478 (U.S. 1997) (Struck down part of Brady.)