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Firearms on Campus

We have received several questions regarding the impact of the new Tennessee law on permit-less carry, Public Chapter 108, that went into effect on July 1. Public Chapter 108 did not make any changes to current prohibitions and procedures concerning carrying firearms on the University of Tennessee Campuses.

Public Chapter 108 does allow permit-less carry generally by people who are either over 21 years of age or over 18 years of age and meet certain military qualifications (for example, an honorably discharged veteran or a person serving on active duty in the military).  However, it does not change the current statutory framework for carrying a weapon on public college campuses.

The current statute, Tennessee Code Annotated Section 39-17-1309, prohibits carrying a firearm on any UT campus, and limits who may carry a handgun on campus, to (1) full-time non-student employees, (2) with an Enhanced Handgun Carry Permit, (3) who notify the campus police department, and (4) carry the handgun in a concealed manner. This has not changed, and Public Chapter 108 does not permit any person to carry a firearm on campus (outside of a vehicle) who could not do so before.

Public Chapter 108 does slightly expand who may have a firearm in their vehicle on campus. The requirements for having a firearm have not changed – it must be in the vehicle, kept from ordinary observation by people outside the vehicle, and locked in the vehicle when the owner is not present in the vehicleThe range of people who may have a firearm in their vehicle now includes anyone who now has a right to carry a weapon without a permit – which, as noted above, includes people who are either over 21 years of age, or over 18 years of age that meet certain military qualifications. The UT System will be updating the UT System-wide Firearms Policy (SA0875) to reflect that statutory change.

Other than slightly expanding the range of people who may lawfully have a firearm in their vehicle, the new statute makes no changes to who may lawfully carry a firearm on campus.
For more information about firearms on the UTHSC campus, please visit the Firearms Information website and the Questions and Answers About UT Safety Policy 0875 – Firearms website.