Tennessee Attorney General

Significant Attorney General Opinions:

The Tennessee Attorney General is appointed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as the chief attorney representing the state of Tennessee. One might think that the duty of the Attorney General is to represent the interests of the people of Tennessee and to defend their rights under the Tennessee and perhaps even the federal Constitution.

As part of his duties, the Tennessee Attorney General represents primarily other state agents (e.g., legislators) and departments. Routinely the Attorney General is asked to write an opinion on what he thinks the law is in a certain area or pertaining to a certain topic. These opinions are not the law but only the individual’s opinion as to what the law is. Often times, these opinions are written from the perspective of furthering what the state wants rather than what is actually constitutionally in the bests interests of the people of the state. Thus several years ago the Attorney General wrote an opinion in which he expressed that there is no “right” of “self-defense” in Tennessee!!

Independent of the accuracy of constitutional soundness of these opinions (a problem with many of them unfortunately), the opinions are the guide to state agencies and can provide some insight into the meaning or intent of the statutes.

Since 2000 (actually extending into part of 1999) the Attorney General has published his “formal” opinions on the State’s web site.

Attorney General Opinions. There is an index for each year so, for example, you can see an index of all opinion in 2006, 2007 or 2008. The indexes are not hyperlinked to take a notepad on your search.

Here are some of the Attorney General Opinions that pertain to firearms ownership, self-defense and related topics: