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Old April 7, 2013, 04:24 AM   #1
Crazy88Fingers
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Camping and Carrying in Tennessee

This summer I'll be camping with some friends in the Smokey Mountains and spending a good bit of time in Tennessee. We'll be doing some back country hiking for a few days, and I thought it might be a good idea to bring a gun. I have a Florida carry permit, which is valid in Tennessee, but their laws have confused me...

Quote:
39-17-1311. Carrying weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds.

(a) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any weapon prohibited by § 39-17-1302(a), not used solely for instructional, display or sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government, or instrumentality thereof, for recreational purposes.

(b) (1) The provisions of subsection (a) shall not apply to the following persons:

(A) 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;

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

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

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

(E) 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;

(F) Any private police employed by the municipality, county, state or instrumentality thereof in the discharge of their duties;

(G) A registered security guard/officer, who meets the requirements of title 62, chapter 35, while in the performance of the officer's duties;

(H) 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 that is owned or operated by the state, a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof, except as otherwise provided in subsection (d);

(I) Persons possessing a handgun, who are authorized to carry the handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, while within or on property designated by the federal government as a national park, forest, preserve, historic park, military park, trail or recreation area, to the extent permitted by federal law; and

(J) Also, only to the extent a person strictly conforms the person's behavior to the requirements of one (1) of the following classifications:

(i) A person hunting during the lawful hunting season on lands owned by any municipality, county, state or instrumentality thereof and designated as open to hunting by law or by the appropriate official;

(ii) A person possessing unloaded hunting weapons while transversing the grounds of any public recreational building or property for the purpose of gaining access to public or private lands open to hunting with the intent to hunt on the public or private lands unless the public recreational building or property is posted prohibiting entry;

(iii) A person possessing guns or knives when conducting or attending "gun and knife shows" when the program has been approved by the administrator of the recreational building or property;

(iv) A person entering the property for the sole purpose of delivering or picking up passengers and who does not remove any weapon from the vehicle or utilize it in any manner; or

(v) A person who possesses or carries a firearm for the purpose of sport or target shooting and sport or target shooting is permitted in the park or recreational area.

(2) At any time the person's behavior no longer strictly conforms to one (1) of the classifications in subdivision (b)(1), the person shall be subject to the provisions of subsection (a).
(emphasis mine)

So it seems that the first bit (39-17-1302) is referring to machine guns, explosives, etc. on state property. I'll be in a national park, so is that considered "property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government, or instrumentality thereof, for recreational purposes"?

And even carrying a handgun, with my permit, in a national park, do I still have to "strictly conform" my behavior with the guidelines in 39-17-1311(b)(1)(J)? Are hunting and target shooting allowed in the park? I'm pretty sure there won't be any gun and knife shows. But if that's the case, then the law would also require that of military and police officers while in the official discharge of their duties.

There's also this tid-bit from the Attorney General's office...
http://tennessee.gov/attorneygeneral...08/op/op26.pdf

I am confused, and worried about bears.
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Last edited by Crazy88Fingers; April 7, 2013 at 04:36 AM.
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Old April 7, 2013, 06:36 AM   #2
wally626
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Lets start with I am not a lawyer and have not read all the laws being referred to.

Reading the law it looks like you should be able to carry in either state and local parks or national parks with a permit, but the AG letter certainly disputes that interpretation of the law.

It was not clear the letter was referring to National Parks so those may be OK. If you are worried about bears get some bells for the packs and some bear spray.

Last edited by wally626; April 7, 2013 at 06:43 AM.
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Old April 7, 2013, 06:50 AM   #3
KCampbell
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Re: Camping and Carrying in Tennessee

I live 8 miles from the GSMNP, no hunting or target shooting. They would respond very badly to shooting in the park. The GSMNP is one of if not the most visited national parks in the country.I spend a lot of time backpacking and fishing here but it is getting very crowded and running into other people even in the back country is the norm.But if you want to shoot while your here you would be welcome to come shoot as my guest at a small private outdoor range in Maryville just outside the park.
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Old April 7, 2013, 02:05 PM   #4
Crazy88Fingers
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I didn't think shooting would be allowed, and I'll keep your invite in mind if we have some open room in the itinerary KCampbell.

The AG seems to have an interesting interpretation. Following his logic it would seem the legislature's "intent" was to keep law enforcement from carrying firearms into parks as well. Though that isn't what they wrote.

Some bells and spray are also coming along.
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Last edited by Crazy88Fingers; April 7, 2013 at 02:10 PM.
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Old April 8, 2013, 12:28 AM   #5
patrickmn
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That opinion is old. In fact, it probably was one of the reasons the legislature changed the laws about carrying in parks, which is now legal with some exceptions. The opinion is from 2008 and I think the new laws started in 2009.

The Federal government allows carrying guns in national parks, but not in their buildings.

Tennessee passed a law that permit holders can carry in state and national parks. In state parks, you are probably going to see signs saying that you can't carry a gun. If it is a state park, ignore it. When the state wrote the law they decided it was too expensive to replace the signs, so they left them up!

The state also legalized carrying handguns in local, public parks. Local governments can opt out of the state law and ban guns from their parks. Those local governments are supposed to post their parks if they ban guns, but some of them didn't and the law is still enforceable.

EDIT: Other than the signs in state parks, I don't suggest carrying past a sign that says they don't want your guns around.
EDIT2: This might help: Click.
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Last edited by patrickmn; April 8, 2013 at 12:45 AM.
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Old April 8, 2013, 03:00 PM   #6
ClydeFrog
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Join Date: May 1, 2010
Posts: 5,798
Legal sources...

If you travel often or plan to CC a lot, I'd check these good websites;

www.nra.org www.gunlawguide.com www.floridafirearmslaw.com www.mylegalheat.com www.mylicensesite.com www.handgunlaw.us .
Atty & legal expert; David Wong put out a gun & knife law guide to all 50 states and DC/PR/Guam/US Virgin Islands/etc.

CF
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