Jun 23, 2016

Tennessee’s New “No Firearms” Notice Requirement

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam recently signed into law Public Chapter Number 638, adding greater detail to the “No Firearms” notice requirements.  As it stands, Tennessee employers and business owners may prohibit employees and patrons from carrying firearms and weapons onto business premises.  This is true even when an employee or patron possesses a lawful open or concealed carry permit.  However, in order to prohibit such firearms, employers and business owners must comply with the notice requirements set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated (“T.C.A.”) section 39-17-1359(b).  Regardless of whether employers and business owners comply with the new notice requirements, permit holders may keep firearms locked and out of sight in a personal vehicle while parked on premises.

While the statute remains largely unchanged, the new amendment requires employers and business owners intending to prohibit firearms to post a sign with the phrase “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED,” measuring at least one inch high and eight inches wide, and the phrase “As Authorized by T.C.A. § 39-17-1359.”  Additionally, the sign must include a visual representation of the phrase no firearms—a “circle with a diagonal line through the circle and an image of a firearm inside the circle under the diagonal line” with the diagonal line at a 45-degree angle from the upper left to the lower right side of the circle.  The entire image must be at least four inches high and four inches wide.

Conversely, the amendment did not change an employer or business owner’s duty to post the prohibition notice in prominent locations, including all primary business entrances, and in English with an option to post a duplicate notice in any language used by individuals who frequent the business premises.

The new notice requirements go into effect July 1, 2016 for employers and business owners who did not previously use signs to prohibit firearms on their premises.  However, employers and business owners who posted signs on or prior to January 1, 2015, will have until January 1, 2018 to replace existing signs with signs meeting the new requirements.

If you have any questions regarding these issues raised in this client alert, please contact your labor and employment counsel at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

This client alert is intended to inform clients and other interested parties about legal matters of current interest and is not intended as legal advice.

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