Perhaps you can get your questions answered here.
Handgun Carry Permit T.C.A. Codes
I am from a state that is reciprocal with TN CCW, and just want to make sure I understand the rules and regs.
Will be in the Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg area for almost a week.
Sometimes I remove the holster and have the pistol in the holster beside me in the car (makes it more comfortable). Is carrying like that OK in your vehicle? Or must it be concealed at all times?
Understand signage is of the verbiage type, not the poster with a pistol/slash. Correct? Lots of "gunbuster" places posted in the area(s) I will be staying?
The one law that sticks in my mind that is a bit troubling is the one about not carrying in parks, playgrounds, etc. owned/operated by state/municipalities, etc "for recreation". So many parks, etc. are subtly marked, and sometimes you don't know when you've entered one, etc. Or are these strictly playgrounds, basketball courts, walking paths in parks - that kind of thing? Also, law says it's unlawful to have a firearm in your possession - so even locked in a lock box in your vehicle is unlawful?
The National Parks were allowed to make their own rules regarding concealed carry, etc. while in the park (buildings, etc. excluded). Is Smoky Mountain NP allowing CCW?
How about "printing". Some states have laws that a firearm "printing" under your clothing is illegal. Is "printing" an issue?
Anything else that would be notable to make note of?
Oh, and can anyone recommend any decent gun stores in the area I'm visiting? Always like to browse
I will only comment on things I ran into on a recent trip there on business. we were all aver the state and ran into few prohabition signs and one guy open carrying in Lowes. No one seemed concerned a bit about him. Don't miss out on stopping by the Smokey Mountain Knife shop in Sevierville.
Handgun Carry Permit T.C.A. Codes states
"Public Chapter 428 – Handguns in Parks – This act permits a resident who has a valid handgun carry permit to possess a handgun while within the boundaries of any park and other similar public places owned and operated by the state, county, or city, excluding certain natural areas, historic parks, nature trails, wildlife management areas. Local governments may elect by a majority resolution of the local legislative body to prohibit gun carry permit holders from possessing handguns in local parks.", then goes on to say:
"On July 24, 2009, the Attorney General issued Opinion No. 09-129 which, pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1309, prohibits handgun carry permit holders from possessing firearms in public parks during times when the athletic fields or other recreational facilities are actually being used by schools."
Ok - so you're allowed unless specifically marked by a county/municipality, or there is a school event ongoing. HOWEVER, Michie's Legal Resources states:
"39-17-1311. Carrying weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds.
(a) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any weapon prohibited by § 39-17-1302(a), not used solely for instructional, display or sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government, or instrumentality thereof, for recreational purposes." with an apparent exclusion in (b) 1 (H) stating that " (H) Persons possessing a handgun, who are authorized to carry the handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place that is owned or operated by the state, a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof, except as otherwise provided in subsection (d);"
Looking at subsection (d), says "
(d) Notwithstanding subdivision (b)(1)(H), any municipality or county may prohibit, by resolution adopted by a majority vote of its legislative body, persons authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, from possessing the handgun while within or on a public park that is owned or operated by a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof. If a legislative body elects to prohibit the possession of handguns within a park, the prohibition shall apply to the entire park, notwithstanding subdivision (b)(1)(H). If the area is jointly owned or operated by municipalities or counties, then a resolution adopted by a majority vote of all affected legislative bodies, voting individually, is necessary for the municipalities or counties to prohibit persons authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351 from possessing the handgun while within the park."
So, am I reading this right to simply state:
1. You can carry if the park/etc. isn't posted
2. You can carry if the park/etc. has no school activity in the park, otherwise, even if not posted, and there is a school activity in the park - you cannot carry.
3. One thing that is bothersome is the statement in the first quoted paragraph above that says "....excluding certain natural areas, historic parks, nature trails, wildlife management areas" Are the excluded areas marked? Or somehow supposed to know by some divine means?
And unfortunately, the above still doesn't answer the question of what "possession" means. Is it "in my possession" if it's locked in a lock box in my vehicle? So, even if the park is posted, and I lock my firearm in a lock box prior to entering the park, or the parking lot of the park, etc., is that illegal?
Actually a law change last year makes the "Gun Buster" sign a legal posting now. It also added if wording only is used the law says it must contain: 1) That is posted per TN law, 2) What is prohibited (All weapons/handguns) and where it is prohibited (whole building, certain areas etc...) and 3) That possession is a criminal offense. (39-17-1359)
State parks are legal to carry in. Some may still have signs that prohibit firearms, but they do not apply to those with a permit. This was done because the cost of modifying signs etc.. at state parks would have added a cost to the bill that would have caused it to be defeated. Local parks are legal by default. They can pass a resolution to prohibit carry, but if they do they MUST post a specific sign according to the law. (39-17-1311) On exception to this is the city of Knoxville, due to a local ordnance on the books before preemption their parks are off limits and are not posted.
National Parks follow the law of the states they are in. So carry in Smokey Mountain NP is fine...at least in the TN part, not sure what state you are from so would need to check to see if your permit is honored in NC as far as carry in the NC part of the park. Just remember you can not carry in any Federal Building within the park. Federal Building are supposed to be posted that they are such, per Federal Law.
Printing is not an issue per se since OC is legal in TN with a permit.
You can carry in restaurants (or any place really) that serves alcohol so long as you are not consuming and the place is not posted per 39-17-1359.
I'm not real familiar with the area you'll be as far as places that are posted or a good gun store.
If you want to read the whole code of the ones I cited above you can go to http://www.michie.com/tennessee/
Enjoy your trip!!!
3) That line is so that the park statute wouldn't allow carry in those areas if there was another law that prevented carry. However the law changed that allowed carry in those areas as well.
As far as your handgun being in your car, even at a posted park, the law doesn't specifically say it is ok, however in the AG Opinion you referenced he said a handgun owner could secure their handgun in their vehicle at a park in use by a school. So IMO I think that would carry over to a posted one as well.
The law says no carry in parks if a school function is taking place. What about a softball/baseball tournament that is not a school function. Hard to find anything on this subject. Also can I keep a weapon in my vechile that is locked in a car safe at a park that does not allow weapons?
The 39-17-1311 (park law) doesn't specifically mention an exception for weapons stored in your car, however the AG mentioned in his opinion on park carry that a person could store their firearm in their car when the park was in use by a school. Also, simply don't give them a reason to search your vehicle.
I love that area of TN, but I have to tell you, every time I travel, I end up researching the laws several weeks ahead of time. I have a hard enough time keeping the laws straight in PA (where I live) that I just out of habit consult the laws of where I'm going to be traveling.
One thing I will recommend for your travel though is to make copies of the reciprocities for the states you will be in. This will cut down on any unneeded aggravation in case the local LE isn't aware of the reciprocities.
If you ride a motorcycle (heck even if you don't) try to get to the Cherohala Skyway and the Tail of the Dragon.
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the vote."
~ Benjamin Franklin (maybe)