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Tennessee law provides that, before a firearm is delivered to a purchaser, a gun dealer must complete a firearms transaction record in accordance with federal law.1 Tennessee law does not specify how long these records must be retained. A law enforcement agency may inspect the records of a gun dealer relating to transfers of firearms in the course of a reasonable inquiry during a criminal investigation or under the authority of a properly authorized subpoena or search warrant.2

The gun dealer must transmit information regarding each firearm sale to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) in the course of running a background check on the purchaser.3 However, Tennessee law requires that for all approved background checks, TBI must destroy all records associating a particular individual with a particular purchase of firearms.4

Additionally, legislation enacted in 2021 generally prohibits state and local governments, officials, employees, and agents from knowingly creating or maintaining registries of gun owners, as defined in the law, “with the intent to record the possession or ownership of a firearm or firearm accessory by individuals or non-governmental entities.”5


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  1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(c).[]
  2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(k).[]
  3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(c).[]
  4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316(j). TBI is required to keep only the unique identifying number and date it was assigned. Id.[]
  5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1367; 2021 TN HB 902.[]