TENNESSEE LAWS ON THE PURCHASE AND SALE OF FIREARMS
Tennessee Statutes and Regulations
Gifts and Sales to Minors and Intoxicated Individuals
Gifts of firearms to Minors and Sales to Intoxicated individuals are restricted under Tennessee law.
Tennessee law contains a relatively short statute setting forth two restrictions on the transfer of firearms. It existence is somewhat hard to explain, so no attempt will be made.
This statute can be used as a reference under Tennessee law for a parent or adult who wants to know if they can give their “minor” – usually a teenager – a firearm. Under Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-17-1303, a person may make a loan or gift of a firearm to a minor for any “lawful sporting activity.” The statute does not require that the individual take back possession of the firearm from the minor if the transfer was made appropriately. The statute is consistent with applicable federal law.
In this same statute, however, we also see that the Tennessee Legislature felt it appropriate to prohibit an individual from “selling” a firearm or ammunition to an intoxicated person. For reasons not even remotely clear from the statute, however, the General Assembly apparently did not see it necessary to declare it illegal for someone to make a loan or gift of a firearm or ammunition to an intoxicated person.
§ 39-17-1303. Sales, loans or gifts; restrictions (2004)
(a) A person commits an offense who:
(1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sells, loans or makes a gift of a firearm or switchblade knife to a minor;
(2) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly sells a firearm or ammunition for a firearm to a person who is intoxicated; or
(3) Intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence violates the provisions of § 39-17-1316.
(b) It is a defense to prosecution under subdivision (a)(1) that:
(1) A firearm was loaned or given to a minor for the purposes of hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, sport shooting or any other lawful sporting activity; and
(2) The person is not required to obtain a license under § 39-17-1316.
(c) For purposes of this section, “intoxicated” means substantial impairment of mental or physical capacity resulting from introduction of any substance into the body.
(d) An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.