ASK THE EXPERT
TENNESSEE CARRY PERMIT:
1. Do You Need To Qualify With Each Handgun?
2, Is there a minimum caliber that you can qualify with and carry?
1. Do you need to Qualify with each handgun?
This question is one of the most debated and asked questions between instructors and students alike. Remember, more than one house representative or senator writes the laws. More than one committee reviews, researches, and re-writes the proposals. Then when it gets to the State House, someone may add to it, or modify it on the floor. Courts will often look at the "original intent" and compare it to the "enacted law" version.
In this question, the law has a loop hole. It needs to be closed, but as of right now it's open to interpretation.
When you attend a firearms carry class, you must pass two tests, (3 here at HGR Firearms). A written test (2 here), and the range test. You also watch the State video with Dale Robinson of the Tennessee Law Enforcement Academy. Mr. Robinson is also an attorney and teaches law classes. He is considered an expert in his field.
When you complete the range portion, you have shot (48 rounds for the State, at HGR you will have shot 150 rounds), and you are issued a Completion Certificate. On this certificate the instructor documents the Make of Handgun, the Model of the Handgun, and the Caliber of the handgun. The original intent, was to show you were competent on that firearm, and the State Law states if you wish to qualify with more than one gun, while attending the course, shall only take the range portion of the course for the second firearm.
Thus the confusion. No where does the State Law say you MUST carry the same firearm you have qualified on. It is only "IMPLIED" with the Certificate of Completion, and the Second firearm part of the law.
This is Dale Robinson's response to my inquiry.
Dale Robinson, State of TN Law Enforcement Academy
Sorry again for the long response. Looking at T.C.A. 39-17-1351 it says
that a permit is good for any gun the holder owns or legally posseses. I
can find nothing in the statute that requires a applicant to qualify
with the weapon they intend to carry. So, I turn to the rules
promulgated by this department. The only reference I can find to this
issue is under rule 1340 -2-3-.05 sec.10, which states that a person
wishing to qualify with more than one gun, while attending the course,
shall only take the range portion of the course for the second weapon.
This would infer there is a need to qualify with a weapon that is
The problem I have with this is that I can find no statute or rule that
says a permit holder can only carry a weapon that they have qualified
with. You may be aware of some statute or rule I am missing but in the
absence of such law or rule I see nothing that prohibts them from
carrying any handgun they choose, qualified or not.
IN CONCLUSION: I would encourage you to carry what you have trained on. If you are involved in a self defense use of a firearm, then you will have the documentation to support your training on that handgun. Remember, consult with a civil and criminal attorneys before giving any statements.
2. Is there a minimum caliber you can qualify with and carry for defense?
Simply put, NO. State Law allows each training school to establish a minimum caliber for the Carry Permit classes. Most do not. HGR has established the policy of a minimum caliber to qualify with at the .380 ACP. That's the same caliber that James Bond carries as a reference. I have had students in the past qualify with a .22LR then buy a .40 or .45 ACP. The .22LR is not a good defense gun. The 40 caliber is very good, a .45 ACP is great. All 3 will kill, but the .22LR may take several hours while the bad guy pounds on you or kills you. The 45 ACP has enough energy to knock a man off his feet. The recoil on the 22LR is minimal, the .45 will get everybody's attention. I have attended several autopsies involving handguns. Two of the three .22LR victims suffered a long painful death .... one was instant (shot in the eye).
IN CONCLUSION: CARRY WHAT YOU TRAINED ON. Choose a self defense gun, not a target gun. The Glock 22LR I use in class is great for learning techniques but not for the real deal. Big guns make big holes. Big holes make bad people behave faster if not immediately. Always check your background before unleashing hell upon them. Make sure all the "Rules of Engagement" IN ORANGE (BELOW) are met .... but most of all ...... be a survivor.