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Defining prohibited weapons in Tennessee

Like all residents of Clarksville, you have a constitutional right to bear arms to defend yourself. This may be why so many come to us here at Runyon and Runyon confused after having been arrested on weapons possession charges. The law does indeed allow you to own weapons, and to carry them with in certain situations. However, it should also be understood that the possession of certain types of weapons may constitute a criminal offense.

The Annotated Code of Tennessee (as shared by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives), lists standard arms such as handguns, rifles, shotguns and machine guns among its list of defined weapons. Also included in this list are explosive weapons, which can include:

  •          Bombs
  •          Grenades
  •          Rockets
  •          Mines
  •          Projectiles
  •          Containers holding flammable liquids or chemically reactive substances

Switchblade knives and knuckles are also recognized by the state as weapons, as are short barrel guns (rifles with a barrel length of less than 16 inches and shotguns with a length of less than 18 inches). Finally, hoax devices are anything designed to appear as an incendiary device.

The law prohibits the possession of explosive weapons (as well as devices used to propel them), machine guns, short barrel rifles and shotguns, handguns with silencers, hoax devices, switchblade knives or knuckles, or any device designed to inflict harm. While possessing knives and knuckles or other undefined weapons is a misdemeanor offense, being found with any of the other listed weapons is a felony.

It is, however, an acceptable defense to possession charge if you can show that your use of a prohibited weapon is incident to military or law enforcement duties, lawful commercial enterprise, or as a curio, keepsake or exhibition piece. More information on answering to weapons charges can be found here on our site.