Wednesday, September 14, 2016

University of Tennessee weapons policy explained

In my last post, I questioned some SEC coaches' suspension of the Second Amendment for their student-athletes.

As mentioned, that prompted me to take a close look at the University of Tennessee firearms policy. I sent some questions to UTPD. 

After several days wait, and a follow-up email, I received a reply. My questions are in  COURIER BOLD, BLUE, UT Answers are in Arial Orange. All other text is plain text.

Simsen, Karen Ann (Karen) <>
9:47 AM (13 hours ago)

Hi Mr. Matthews –
I apologize for the delay in our response.   Below are responses to your questions.  Please send me any follow up questions you may have.  Thank you  - Karen Simsen

Question 1. Does UT still have "no guns" or "no weapons" signs posted along the streets on campus?
I would appreciate some clarification on Paragraph 4:
4. Who may not carry a handgun on UT property? The following individuals are not permitted to carry handguns on UT property, unless expressly permitted by Tennessee law:
•    Part-time UT employees (those scheduled to work less than 40 hours in a workweek)
•    UT students
•    UT volunteers
•    Visitors to UT property
•    Lessees of UT property
•    Employees of contractors working on UT property
Tennessee law prohibits the individuals listed above from carrying a handgun on UT property but allows individuals with handgun carry permits to transport and store a firearm or firearm ammunition in their private motor vehicle while on or utilizing a parking area as long as:
•    the firearm or ammunition is kept from ordinary observation if the individual is in the motor vehicle; or
•    the firearm or ammunition is kept from ordinary observation and locked within the trunk, glove box, or interior of the individual’s motor vehicle or a container securely affixed to such motor vehicle if he/she is not in the motor vehicle.

UT continues to post signage regarding carrying weapons on UT property in compliance with Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1309(d).

Question 2. Is it correct, according to this policy, that all the individuals listed above, including students, may transport and keep a firearm in a vehicle in the manner described above, if the individual has a handgun carry permit? If not, please cite relevant policy.

Yes, although Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-1313 uses the term “store” rather than “keep.”

Question 3. In the event of a traffic stop on UT campus, and the UT officer asks the driver about a handgun; and the individual answers in the affirmative as required by Tennessee law; are UT officers trained that even though "posted" signs are around campus that it would be legal for the individual to have the firearm in the vehicle?

UTPD officers receive training yearly involving any changes in state law and how they impact how our officers carry out the functions of their job.

Media and Internal Relations
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

So there you have it. It appears that student possession of handguns is not totally prohibited at UT after all.

Two words of caution - 

  1. If you leave a handgun in your vehicle, a locking box would be a good idea. Glove boxes and center consoles that lock are very flimsy security.
  2. Know before you go. Seek legal advice from a competent attorney. This column is not legal advice


  1. Great research. Now we know more than 99.9999 pf the general public, more than 75% of police and probably more than 1/2 of the UTPD.

  2. With overwhelming evidence that "Gun Free Zones" are prime targets for radical, unstable individuals we continue to fight these battles to allow registered gun owners to carry their weapons for their protection and protection of the public at large. Campus carry should be allowed for anyone licensed by the State of Tennessee.

    1. Ina Hughes disagrees with us:


Please maintain civility and G-rating on comments.