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Tennessee law generally penalizes anyone who intentionally or knowingly possesses, manufactures, transports, repairs or sells a machine gun.1 However, it is a defense to prosecution that the person’s conduct involved acquisition or possession of a machine gun that is validly registered to the person under federal law in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Records.2 Tennessee law simply requires a person who acquires or possesses a firearm registered as required under federal law to retain proof of registration.3

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.4 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019.5

Tennessee law requires the sheriff or chief of police of the city where a person purchasing any machine gun (or other firearm required to be registered under the National Firearms Act) resides to execute within 15 business days all documents required to be submitted by the purchaser if the purchaser is not prohibited from possessing firearms pursuant to Tennessee law.6

 See our Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms policy summary  for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. 

  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1302.[]
  2. Id.[]
  3. Id.[]
  4. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d).[]
  5. Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, 479).[]
  6. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1361.[]