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Thread: OC in Smoky Mtns National Park?

  1. #1
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    OC in Smoky Mtns National Park?

    What is the law regarding OC at Smoky Mountains National Park?

    I've read on HandGunLaw.us that it's legal: http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/tennessee.pdf
    but I've also read that carry of any sort is not legal in Tennessee parks - state, county or local...? It's my understanding that a bill to make it legal failed to become law recently.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Carry of firearms in public, concealed or openly, is by permit only in TN. If you do not have a permission slip from the state you live in then you must store your gun in accordance with federal transportation guidlines. As for the SMNP its federal land under the control of the National Parks Service and you are legal to carry in the park except for inside park buildings. TN recognises all other states permits, but again, a permit is REQUIRED.

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    Oh yes, signs carry weight of law in TN so if you see a gun buster sign posted on any establishment it is a violation and you can be arrested and fined. For as gun friendly as TN professes to be we sure do have some messed up laws on the books. You would think our good conservative republican legislature would be amenable to do like Georgia has done and and stop ******* on the constitution with these laws. This memorial day weekend (and most every holiday) we have here what is know as "no refusal weekends" directed at drunk driving violations. The police can stop anyone any time and make them do sobriety tests and even forced to give blood if they so deem necessary, at their whim. Nice huh?? If you refuse you lose you drivers license right then and there.
    Last edited by Ken56; 05-24-2014 at 02:43 PM.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Federal law on national parks delegates to state law except federal buildings which are always banned. State law allows carry at a national and state park but allows municipal parks to ban if they desire. With a permit, you can open or conceal carry. When I get a minute later today I will give you the exact law citations.

    I have open carried at SMNP right in front of rangers with no problems. Don't forget your bear spray and make sure you don't cross over into NC territory, etc. without understanding their laws, too.
    Open means open...

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    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Federal law on national parks delegates to state law except federal buildings which are always banned. State law allows carry at a national and state park but allows municipal parks to ban if they desire. With a permit, you can open or conceal carry. When I get a minute later today I will give you the exact law citations.

    I have open carried at SMNP right in front of rangers with no problems. Don't forget your bear spray and make sure you don't cross over into NC territory, etc. without understanding their laws, too.
    Thanks much independence.

    I would much appreciate the citations when you have the opportunity.

    To everyone else who threw in: I'm sorry for not acknowledging what I knew - that in TN open carry is only done legally with a license. But, thanks for the cautionary statements. Much appreciated.

    Another question: are local/county parks off limits because of the CCW law or does it have something to do with laws passed prior to some date in 1986?

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BB62 View Post
    Thanks much independence.

    I would much appreciate the citations when you have the opportunity.

    To everyone else who threw in: I'm sorry for not acknowledging what I knew - that in TN open carry is only done legally with a license. But, thanks for the cautionary statements. Much appreciated.

    Another question: are local/county parks off limits because of the CCW law or does it have something to do with laws passed prior to some date in 1986?

    Thanks again.
    Citations, as promised...


    The federal government does not ban in national parks:

    36 CFR 2.4
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/36/2.4

    (h) Notwithstanding any other provision in this Chapter, a person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state in which the national park area, or that portion thereof, is located, except as otherwise prohibited by applicable Federal law.
    But it is illegal to carry in a federal facility, like a building in a national park:

    Title 18 USC Section 930
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/930

    (a) Except as provided in subsection (d), whoever knowingly possesses or causes to be present a firearm or other dangerous weapon in a Federal facility (other than a Federal court facility), or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.
    (Federal courts are covered in a separate paragraph)

    The state does not ban municipal, county, state or federal parks:

    TCA 39-17-1311
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/

    39-17-1311. Carrying weapons on public parks, playgrounds, civic centers and other public recreational buildings and grounds.

    (a) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any weapon prohibited by § 39-17-1302(a), not used solely for instructional, display or sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in or on the grounds of any public park, playground, civic center or other building facility, area or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county or state government, or instrumentality thereof, for recreational purposes.

    (b) (1) The provisions of subsection (a) shall not apply to the following persons:

    [...]

    (H) Persons possessing a handgun, who are authorized to carry the handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place that is owned or operated by the state, a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof, except as otherwise provided in subsection (d);

    (I) Persons possessing a handgun, who are authorized to carry the handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, while within or on property designated by the federal government as a national park, forest, preserve, historic park, military park, trail or recreation area, to the extent permitted by federal law; and

    The state parks are allowed to keep their stupid signs up because they only apply to those without a permission slip:

    TCA 39-17-1311
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/
    (e) (1) Because signage prohibiting the possessing of firearms while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place that is owned or operated by the state or instrumentality of the state, and posted pursuant to this section prior to July 1, 2009, remains necessary for visitors who are not authorized to carry a firearm pursuant to subsection (b), the department shall not replace or change any existing signs that prohibit firearms or erect any new signs at existing state areas relative to firearms; however, the department may replace or repair signs that have been damaged or are scheduled for replacement in accordance with the park's regular replacement schedule.
    Municipalities and counties can ban their parks:

    TCA 39-17-1311
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/

    (d) Notwithstanding subdivision (b)(1)(H), any municipality or county may prohibit, by resolution adopted by a majority vote of its legislative body, persons authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351, from possessing the handgun while within or on a public park that is owned or operated by a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof. If a legislative body elects to prohibit the possession of handguns within a park, the prohibition shall apply to the entire park, notwithstanding subdivision (b)(1)(H). If the area is jointly owned or operated by municipalities or counties, then a resolution adopted by a majority vote of all affected legislative bodies, voting individually, is necessary for the municipalities or counties to prohibit persons authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351 from possessing the handgun while within the park.

    Municipalities and county have to post proper signage if they are banning:

    (c) (1) Each chief administrator of public recreational property shall display in prominent locations about the public recreational property a sign, at least six inches (6'') high and fourteen inches (14'') wide, stating:

    MISDEMEANOR. STATE LAW PRESCRIBES A MAXIMUM PENALTY OF ELEVEN (11) MONTHS AND TWENTY-NINE (29) DAYS AND A FINE NOT TO EXCEED TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($2,500) FOR CARRYING WEAPONS ON OR IN PUBLIC RECREATIONAL PROPERTY.

    [...]

    (2) If a municipality or county elects to prohibit persons authorized to carry a handgun pursuant to § 39-17-1351 from possessing the handgun while within or on a public park, it shall display in prominent locations the sign authorized by subdivision (c)(1), to give notice that handguns are not permitted in the park.
    But yet, if they fail to proper signs that reflect their city codes then you can still go to jail (yay!):

    Tennessee Attorney General Opinion 09-158
    http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op158.pdf
    6. A handgun carry permit holder who carries a firearm into a county or municipal park where the county or municipality has prohibited such carrying could still be convicted of violating Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1311 even if such county or municipality failed to comply with the posting requirements that are set forth in section 2(e)(2) of Chapter 428.

    The state preempts municipal law, except for in parks...But any municipal bans enacted between 1986 and 2009 (39-17-1311 went into effect 2009) are no longer valid unless they made a new law since then:

    TCA 39-17-1314
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/

    (a) Except as provided in § 39-17-1311(d), which allows counties and municipalities to prohibit the possession of handguns while within or on a public park, natural area, historic park, nature trail, campground, forest, greenway, waterway or other similar public place that is owned or operated by a county, a municipality or instrumentality thereof, no city, county, or metropolitan government shall occupy any part of the field of regulation of the transfer, ownership, possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition or components of firearms or combinations thereof; provided, that this section shall be prospective only and shall not affect the validity of any ordinance or resolution lawfully enacted before April 8, 1986.

    If enacted between 1986 and 2009, a municipality's gun bans in parks are not valid. They have to make new bans for them to be valid. The weird thing about this, is that even if the city made a city-wide ban on carrying a gun *anywhere* like 100 years ago, that ban is no longer valid because of 39-17-1351 --- EXCEPT IN PARKS:

    Tennessee Attorney General Opinion 09-179
    http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op...p/op09-179.pdf

    QUESTIONS
    If a municipality had already enacted an ordinance prohibiting the possession of hand guns in its parks prior to the enactment of Chapter 428 of the Public Acts of 2009 (codified as Tenn. Code Ann, § 39-17-1311(d)(Supp. 2009)), is it still required to “opt-out” of the provisions of Chapter 428 in order to continue that prohibition?

    [...]

    ANSWERS
    Whether a municipality must adopt a new resolution to prohibit the possession of firearms in parks which it owns will depend upon the date on which the original resolution was adopted. If such resolution was adopted after April 8, 1986, then the municipality must adopt a new resolution to effectively prohibit the possession of firearms. If on the other hand such resolution was adopted on or before April 8, 1986, the prohibition against the possession of firearms remains in effect without any further action by the municipality
    Can't carry in a park that is being used by a school:


    TCA 39-17-1309
    http://www.lexisnexis.com/hottopics/tncode/
    (b) (1) It is an offense for any person to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, with the intent to go armed, any firearm, explosive, explosive weapon, bowie knife, hawk bill knife, ice pick, dagger, slingshot, leaded cane, switchblade knife, blackjack, knuckles or any other weapon of like kind, not used solely for instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field or any other property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution.

    Tennessee Attorney General Opinion 09-129
    http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op129.pdf
    2. Yes. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1309 prohibits handgun carry permit holders from possessing firearms in public parks during times when the athletic fields or other recreational facilities are actually being used by schools.

    Tennessee Attorney General Opinion 09-160
    http://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/op/2009/op/op160.pdf
    Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1309 (b) and (c) prohibit the carrying of firearms on any property “used” by schools. A school is “using” the park when students and administrators are present on park grounds and are using park facilities for a school-sponsored activity.

    Further reading:
    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/lawsandpolicies.htm
    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/35484383/n.../#.U4FrTFSb1fo

    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. Keep calm and carry a recorder!
    Open means open...

  7. #7
    Accomplished Advocate BB62's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Citations, as promised...
    WOW!

    Thanks very much for the comprehensive response.

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