Open Carry Laws
Gun control laws are extensive, frequently amended, and often difficult to understand without a legal background. In Tennessee, significant changes to open carry laws go into effect in July of 2021. If you are facing charges for a gun crime, or simply have questions about open carry laws, a Nashville gun crime lawyer can advise you. Attorney Bernie McEvoy represents people facing charges for gun crimes and other weapons offenses in Nashville and surrounding areas. He can explain Tennessee open carry laws and assist in defending against firearm-related criminal charges.Tennessee Open Carry Laws
Although citizens have constitutional right to keep and bear arms, firearms and their uses are subject to regulation. Tennessee and federal gun laws dictate how firearms may be carried in public, who may be armed in public, and other matters concerning firearm possession. “Open carry” is an expression that means having a gun in plain sight that is visible to others while you are in public. “Concealed carry”, on the other hand, means having a gun that is concealed on your person while you are in public.
Effective July 1, 2021, most adults will be allowed to carry a handgun or other firearm in Tennessee without a permit, whether openly or concealed. The new legislation eliminates the permit requirement for eligible gun owners, as well as the misdemeanor offense of carrying a handgun without a permit. The law applies to people who are 21 years or older and military members who are at least 18 years old. In addition, they must be in lawful possession of the gun and in a place where they are lawfully present.
Although the law expands gun rights in Tennessee, it also provides increased penalties for certain firearm-related crimes. For example, theft of a firearm was elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony offense. A conviction now carries a mandatory sentence of incarceration for six months, instead of 30 days. In addition, a person convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm will not be eligible for early release.Limits on Open Carry in Tennessee
Open carry laws are subject to restrictions. For example, it is illegal to open carry or possess certain firearms and weapons in Tennessee. Machine guns, short-barrel rifles, and shotguns are some of the firearms that are prohibited, although there are some exceptions. Moreover, while firearms may be used for protection and other lawful purposes, they may not be used to commit crimes or acts of violence, aggression, or provocation towards others.
Open carry is illegal for adults who have lost their right to possess firearms and/or handguns. This group includes people convicted for domestic violence, stalking, a recent DUI, or certain felony offenses. If found with a gun, they may be arrested and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. A person may also be prohibited from open carry if they are subject to a protective order, mentally incapacitated, or not a U.S. citizen, among other reasons.
Open carry may not be allowed in certain places. In general, a person or business has the right to ban firearms on their property. In most situations, carrying a firearm openly or concealed is prohibited on public and private school grounds and buildings and at school-related activities. In addition, a person cannot have a firearm at a bar if they are consuming alcohol.Discuss Your Case with a Lawyer in Nashville
If you are facing gun crime charges, an attorney can help you prepare an appropriate defense strategy. Bernie McEvoy has decades of experience and the knowledge to assist with open carry laws. He can defend people charged with felony and misdemeanor weapons charges in Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Nashville and Franklin. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (615) 255-9595 during daytime hours or (615) 804-8779 after hours and weekends, or by contacting us online.