With exception to a few defenses(such as registered NFA Class 3 items) which are listed below, these weapons are illegal and their possession is unlawful in Tennessee:
- An explosive or an explosive weapon
- A device principally designed, made or adapted for delivering or shooting an explosive weapon;
- A machine gun;
- A short-barrel rifle or shotgun;
- A firearm silencer;
- A hoax device;
- A switchblade knife or knuckles;
- A knife with a blade exceeding 4 inches; OR
- Any other implement for infliction of serious bodily injury or death that has no common lawful purpose.
What defenses might I have if I charged with possession of a prohibited weapon?
Generally speaking, so long as there is some legitimate and lawful purpose for your use and possession of the weapon, there is a defense. The most common defense is also listed as an affirmative defense, meaning the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that it is true. There are a number of defenses which are listed in Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1302, however perhaps the most common include that the person’s conduct relative to dealing with the weapon was solely as a curio, ornament or keepsake, and if the weapon is a type described in subdivisions (a)(1)-(5), that it was in a nonfunctioning condition and could not readily be made operable.