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Tennessee Weapons Charges: The Laws and Penalties

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 152

The State of Tennessee has numerous laws that govern gun crimes. These laws can be found in the Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13: Weapons. Gun crimes are very serious offenses, and if you have been charged you should contact a Tennessee criminal defense lawyer to discuss your case. This article will explain how Tennessee weapons possession laws work, their elements, and their punishment.

Most Tennessee gun charges depend on location and/or the person's status. Some examples of the location category are guns carried on school property or during judicial proceedings. Examples of the status category are guns carried or possessed by convicted felons or people under a restraining order.

The general law in Tennessee, under TCA 39-17-1307, is that it's an offense to carry a firearm with intent to go armed. By default this is a misdemeanor punishable up to 30 days, but if the gun was carried in a place open to the public where one or more persons were present then it is punishable up to 11 months and 29 days. Not surprisingly most weapons possession charges occur in public, so most offenders are facing 11 months and 29 days. A Tennessee gun crimes lawyer can review the case and tell you what the potential punishment may be.

Some Tennessee weapons possession charges are more serious, depending on the circumstances. For instance it is a felony for a convicted felon to possess a handgun. It is also a felony for a person who has been convicted of a felony involving force, violence or a deadly weapon to possess a firearm (which can include guns other than handguns). It is a misdemeanor for a person that has been convicted of domestic violence or is subject to a restraining order to possess a firearm. Many of these offenses can be prosecuted in federal court as well as state court.

It is a felony to possess or employ a firearm during the commission of or the attempt to commit a dangerous felony. "Dangerous felony" can include offenses like attempted murder, carjacking, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, and drug possession with intent. That means that in addition to the underlying felony, a person who has or uses a firearm during that felony can be charged in a separate offense. The additional gun charge can be either a Class C or D felony punishable from 2-15 years. Many of these laws in fact have mandatory minimum prison sentences anywhere from 3-10 years, with no possibility of probation or judicial diversion. That means that, if convicted, prison time must be served and the defendant cannot later have the charge removed from his or her record. In addition, the sentence must run consecutive to the underlying offense, which means it doesn't start until after the first sentence ends.

Carrying a gun on school property with intent to go armed is an E felony punishable from 1-6 years. Additionally, it is a misdemeanor to carry a firearm on a public park, playground, civic center, or government affiliated recreational area. As you can see there are numerous situations where an individual can be charged with a weapons crime in Tennessee. Whatever the facts, a Tennessee criminal lawyer can analyze the case to determine what the best strategy should be.

Patrick Stegall is a Memphis gun possession lawyer. If you have been charged with a weapons possession crime in Memphis, Germantown, or Collierville, contact Mr. Stegall to discuss your case at (901) 205-9894 or email him at

Source: EzineArticles
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