Tennessee Lifetime Handgun Permits in 2017 – What You Need to Know

Its My Right Come And Take It - img:Tennessee Firearms Association
Its My Right Come And Take It – img:Tennessee Firearms Association
Tennessee Firearms Association
Tennessee Firearms Association

USA -(Ammoland.com)- In 2016, some Tennessee legislators worked hard to reduce the cost for standard and lifetime handgun permits.

Some did this, TFA believes, because they realized that the state had been making a large profit on the handgun permit scheme and they were attempting to reduce those costs because of that.

Others, TFA believes, sponsored or supported fee reduction legislation to reduce the “pressure” to enact constitutional carry or, because it was an election year, to be “on the board” with what some might classify as a pro-2nd Amendment vote.

For whatever the motives, a couple of laws changed in 2017 regarding the handgun permits. One change was to alter the basic initial fee from $115 to $100. A second change was to make the permit’s duration 8 years. The renewal cost remained $50.

However, a second law reduced the cost of the “lifetime” permits from $500 down to $200. That means, if you want to get a lifetime permit on an initial application the cost will be the base fee of $100 plus the additional lifetime fee for a total of $300.

The other change was that at renewal a person could opt to pay $200 for a lifetime permit rather than $50 for an 8 year renewal. If you do the math (not using common core), a lifetime renewal of $200 means that you would need to live 32 additional years are the imputed annual rate for the lifetime permit to break even – otherwise the state gets the windfall.

Now, there are some additional facts about the lifetime permit and the regular permits that Tennesseans need to understand to fully appreciate how the administration is willing to take advantage of us….

1) A Tennessee permit, including a lifetime permit, is only good so long as you have Tennessee as your state of residence.

If you move out of state, even for a brief period, say for example to do a medical internship or for an extended job reassignment, the state will take the position that your Tennessee permit, even your lifetime permit, terminated when you established residency in another state.

If you move back to Tennessee before your permit expires (or during your lifetime) or during the renewal grace period, you can have it reissued if you apply and pay an additional fee.

So a Tennessee lifetime handgun permit terminates when you move outside of the state, even if you return, but a Tennessee lifetime hunting license does not. Makes sense, right?

2) If you already have a Tennessee handgun permit, can you apply now for a lifetime permit? According to the Department of Safety, no. You will not be allowed to apply for a lifetime permit – even if you already have a permit – until your existing permit is within 6 months of expiring or unless it has already expired. You cannot even just go apply for a “new” permit – TDOS will reject that effort.

Perhaps what you can do is move to Kentucky, notify the state that you have a new residence out of state and surrender your existing permit, then move back to Tennessee and apply for a new one (but if you try this TDOS may instead force you to reinstate the old one rather than seek the new lifetime permit).

So, Tennessee’s legislature passes a fee reduction in lifetime permits. However, the Haslam administration takes the position that perhaps most of the roughly 600,000 Tennesseans who already have permits are ineligible for it – at least until their existing permits are ready to expire. That sounds reasonable, right?

Folks, this is just another reason that extreme care must be exercised by the legislature in drafting laws that the Haslam (or other) administrations are going to then “interpret” and “implement”.

More importantly, it is a compelling reason why the Tennessee legislation must be forced to enact Constitutional Carry in 2017 and to take as much of the power and responsibility over the remaining optional handgun permitting system away from the Department of Safety and perhaps give it to another state agency with more “customer service” in mind, like perhaps the TWRA….

If you want to help us move to get rid of gun free zones, to enact constitutional carry, and to push back against an unwilling legislature and an uncooperative administration, please consider this request to join, renew and support the Tennessee Firearms Association.

Asking for your support of TFA is a call to action both financially and, more importantly, a call to affirmative action of individual engagement in a real battle for the restoration of our rights.

If you are ready to make the commitment to fight for our rights in 2017, please join and support TFA today and get ready because the fight for our rights is certainly not a spectator sport.


John Harris
Executive Director
Tennessee Firearms Association

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Awesome comments for the state of Tennessee. If your so hard on Tennessee then stay where your at. We who live here know its a great state!


The worst part of this new law is that is not retro active. If you had a permit expire early 2016 and go to get a $50.00 renewal, the ex post facto does not cover you, only those that get their permits post Jan 2017 and into the future. I just left the DOT to renew my CCW that had expired in 2015 because Haslam had made a campaign promise to sign any constitutional carry, but failed to do so when presented. So when i found that the expiration ran through a full 8 year cycle I went to renew… Read more »


Maybe pay the extra $200 now (or when it’s time to renew)? TN may decide to raise the renewal fees at anytime. If it takes 32 years to break even on the $200, it’s likely fees will go up within 32 years. Seriously, what fees have never gone up and doubtful it will rise proportionally with inflation (and consumer price index).

Jim S

I sit here in the malformed state of California, run by idiots getting elected by idiots. I am so jealous of the laws in TN. You guys do great work, thank you from all citizens.


Don’t praise TN, they are no better than any other state that insists on VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION for money. Every state in this country that has a single gun law that restricts a law abiding citizen from his second amendment rights cannot be considered “conservative”. These legislators are playing a game with the citizens, they are doing just enough to sucker you to keep them in office! Paying for a right makes it a privilege!


I just got my renewal papers and I just PAID $75 for my permit.

Wild Bill

@RR, there used to be a website called retirementliving.com I do not know if it is still there, but it helps soon to be retirees to compare states. For my money Texas was the best.

Rover Ray

I didn’t know that. Tennessee was one of the states l was considering moving to when l retire, not anymore! Why do you need a permit to own a handgun? Did you import your politicians from California or New York maybe New Jersey?


You do not need a permit to own a handgun in TN. You do not need a carry permit to carry a loaded firearm in your home and automobile. In TN you only need a carry permit to carry a firearm in public. The TN carry permit covers both open and concealed carry.
Not sure where you are from but accusing TN of importing its laws from Cal. and NJ. I would like to encourage you to not move to TN.


Obviously you have done almost no research into Tennessee’s gun laws. The only permit you need is to carry a handgun in public – that’s why it is called a Handgun Carry Permit here. You do not have to have any type of permit to own a gun, or to have a loaded gun in your vehicle, even if the vehicle is on a property that is posted to be a gun free zone (with a few exceptions). TN recognizes ALL other state permits, and 38 states recognize TN’s (no other is accepted more). Additionally, TN was the first to… Read more »


Whoa, slow down there partner. TN is one of the top 5 conservative states in the country, especially where gun laws are concerned. Better than most, so don’t write off TN just yet.


Yeah, that’s it, praise your state even though they are continuing to force you to pay for YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT! You, as a Tennessean, should be pissed that they are doing this and you should continue to fight these unconstitutional money and control schemes. It truly amazes me how so many conservatives bend over and drop their drawers and accept the government’s reaming!

Brian Dickinson

I praise Tennessee…..I moved from Westen New state and have been here 4 years. I fully enjoy the laws of Tennessee. NYS was a joke with there gun laws. When I first got my gun license in NYS I had to wait 9 months before it came. Also in NYS every time you purchased a gun you had to pay a fee and it was recorded on your permit.