Tennessee Code Annotated

Title 39: Criminal Offenses

Chapter 17: Offenses Against Public Health, Safety and Welfare

Part 13: Weapons

TCA 39-17-1309: Carrying weapons on school property.

(a) As used in this section, "weapon of like kind" includes razors and razor blades, except those used solely for personal shaving, and any sharp pointed or edged instrument, except unaltered nail files and clips and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction and maintenance.

(b) (1) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.

(2) A violation of this subsection (b) is a Class E felony.

(c) (1) (A) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any firearm, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, operated, or while in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.

(B) It is not an offense under this subsection (c) for a nonstudent adult to possess a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a private vehicle operated by the adult and is not handled by the adult, or by any other person acting with the expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property.

(2) A violation of this subsection (c) is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) (1) Each chief administrator of a public or private school shall display in prominent locations about the school a sign, at least six inches (6'') high and fourteen inches (14'') wide, stating:

FELONY. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF SIX (6) YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($3,000) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY.

(2) As used in this subsection (d), "prominent locations about a school" includes, but is not limited to, sports arenas, gymnasiums, stadiums and cafeterias.

(e) Subsections (b) and (c) do not apply to the following persons:

(1) Persons employed in the army, air force, navy, coast guard or marine service of the United States or any member of the Tennessee national guard when in discharge of their official duties and acting under orders requiring them to carry arms or weapons;

(2) Civil officers of the United States in the discharge of their official duties;

(3) Officers and soldiers of the militia and the national guard when called into actual service;

(4) Officers of the state, or of any county, city or town, charged with the enforcement of the laws of the state, when in the discharge of their official duties;

(5) Any pupils who are members of the reserve officers training corps or pupils enrolled in a course of instruction or members of a club or team, and who are required to carry arms or weapons in the discharge of their official class or team duties;

(6) Any private police employed by the administration or board of trustees of any public or private institution of higher education in the discharge of their duties;

(7) Any registered security guard/officer who meets the requirements of title 62, chapter 35, and who is discharging the officer's official duties; and

(8) (A) 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;

(B) Subdivision (e)(8)(A) shall not apply if the permit holder:

(i) Possessed a handgun on property described in subdivision (e)(8)(A) that is owned or operated by a board of education, school, college, or university board of trustees, regents, or directors unless the permit holder's possession is otherwise excepted by this subsection (e); or

(ii) Possessed a handgun in the immediate vicinity of property that was, at the time of possession, in use by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution for the purpose of conducting an athletic event or other school-related activity on an athletic field, permanent or temporary, including but not limited to, a football or soccer field, tennis court, basketball court, track, running trail, Frisbee field, or any similar multi-use field; and

(iii) Knew or should have known that:

(a) An athletic event or school-related activity described in subdivision (e)(8)(B)(ii) was taking place on the property at the time of the possession; or

(b) The property on which the possession occurred was owned or operated by a school entity described in subdivision (e)(8)(B)(ii); or

(iv) Failed to take reasonable steps to leave the area of the athletic field or school-related activity or the property after being informed or becoming aware of:

(a) Its use for athletic or school-related purposes; or

(b) That it was, at the time of the possession, owned or operated by a school entity described in (e)(8)(B)(ii).

History: Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 1; 1990, ch. 1029, § 8; 1991, ch. 510, §§ 1-3; 1996, ch. 1009, § 24; 2015, ch. 250, §§ 3, 4.