You never know where you will be when you may suddenly be forced to defend yourself or your loved ones. With the population of all major cities in the State of Tennessee on the rise and businesses opening back up to the public at large, the discussion of the laws regarding your self-defense rights must be renewed. For this discussion, we will use Tennessee’s own Music City as an example of carrying in a city in Tennessee.

Carry Permits Are Required

Remember that in order to carry a firearm in Tennessee you must first obtain a Tennessee-issued enhanced handgun carry permit, a concealed weapons permit, or possess a valid permit or license issued by another state that Tennessee recognizes.

Restaurants and Bars

In Tennessee, one can lawfully carry a handgun into a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol SO LONG AS that individual does not consume any alcohol. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1321. Therefore, if you are heading to Nashville for the music offerings, you can enter, while armed, any bar, restaurant, or honkytonk to watch some live talent—so long as you do not consume any alcohol and the establishment does not have clear signage prohibiting handguns on the premises.

Theaters and Sports Areas

On the other hand, if you are interested in watching a performance in the Grand Old Opry, you would not be able to go armed as they have made it crystal clear that firearms are not permitted; meaning even if you have a valid permit or license, you cannot bring in a gun.

Fan of professional sports? Nashville is home to both the NFL’s Titans and the NHL’s Predators. However, if you are heading to either of these professional sports teams’ games, you may not carry a firearm. Both Nissan Stadium, the home of the Titans, and Bridgestone Arena where the Predators hold their home games, prohibit firearms.

The State Capital

Nashville is also the state capital of Tennessee. If you wanted to tour and visit our state’s Capitol building, it is important to know that firearms are prohibited while inside the State Capitol buildings; and it is posted accordingly.

State or National Parks

If your visit to Nashville includes any day trips to surrounding state or national parks, remember that Tennessee law allows those with a Tennessee or recognized out-of-state permit to carry a handgun into state and national parks, state and national forests, and wildlife management areas. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1311. However, federal law prohibits firearms in buildings located within those parks owned by the federal government.

Stay safe out there and be sure to always look out for those establishments that have clear signage prohibiting firearms. As always, if you have any questions on Tennessee’s laws regarding self-defense, the use of force, handgun carry permits, or the carrying of firearms, please contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.


The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.