It is not illegal to carry a weapon. It is against the law to carry a weapon with the intent to go armed. If an individual carries a pistol without the intent of going armed he does not violate the law. Biggs v. State, 207 Tenn. 603, 341 S.W.2d 737, 1960 Sams v. State, 210 Tenn. 16, 356 S.W.2d 273, 1962.
Without the intent or purpose of going armed there is no violation, and the mere carrying of a weapon does not deprive a defendant of the presumption of innocence. Cole v. State, 539 S.W.2d 46, (Tenn. Crim. App. 1976).
Intent to go armed cannot be presumed from mere possession of a weapon and it is improper to instruct a jury regarding such a presumption. Liming v. State, 220 Tenn., 371, 382,417 S.W.2d 769, 774 (1967)
Intent to go armed may be inferred by the trier of fact from the
circumstances of the case including the fact of the possession of the weapon.
State v. Washington, 658 S.W.2d 144, 146 (Tenn. Cr. App. 1983)
I also found this:
T.P.I. CRIM. 36.08
CARRYING A WEAPON WITH INTENT TO GO ARMED
Any person who unlawfully carries a weapon with the intent to go armed is guilty of a crime.
For you to find the defendant guilty of this offense, the state must have proven beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of the following essential elements:1
(1) that the defendant carried [a firearm] [a knife with a blade length
exceeding four (4) inches] [a club];
(2) that the defendant did so with the intent to go armed;
(3) that the defendant acted either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly;2
[(4) that the weapon carried was a handgun;
(5) that the carrying of it occurred at a place open to the public where
one (1) or more persons were present.]3
["Firearm" means any weapon designed, made or adapted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or any device readily convertible to that use.]4
["Club" means any instrument that is specially designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by striking a person with the instrument.]5
["Knife" means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death by cutting or stabbing a person with the instrument.]6
["Handgun" means any firearm with a barrel length of less than twelve (12) inches that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one hand.]7
["Intentionally" means that a person acts intentionally with respect to the nature of the conduct or to a result of the conduct when it is the person's conscious objective or desire to engage in the conduct or cause the result.]8
["Knowingly" means that a person acts knowingly with respect to the conduct or to circumstances surrounding the conduct when the person is aware of the nature of the conduct or that the circumstances exist. A person acts knowingly with respect to a result of the person's conduct when the person is aware that the conduct is reasonably certain to cause the result.]9
["Recklessly" means that a person acts recklessly with respect to the circumstances surrounding the conduct or the result of the conduct when the person is aware of, but consciously disregards, a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the circumstances exist or the result will occur. The risk must be of such a nature and degree that its disregard constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that an ordinary person would exercise under all the circumstances as viewed from the accused person's standpoint.]10
["Public place" means a place to which the public or a group of persons has access and includes, but is not limited to, [highways] [transportation facilities] [schools] [places of amusement] [parks] [places of business] [playgrounds] [hallways, lobbies and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence]. An act is deemed to occur in a public place if it produces its offensive or proscribed consequences in a public place.]11
1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(a)(1).
2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-301(b) and (c) and accompanying Sentencing
Commission Comment. The Committee is of the opinion that the definitions
of "knowingly" and "recklessly", although statutorily required, are in conflict
with element (2) of this offense. Because element (2) includes the "intent to
go armed", some judges believe that only "intentionally" should be charged
for this offense.
3. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(a)(2).
4. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(11).
5. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1301(1).
6. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1301(5).
7. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(16).
8. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(18).
9. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(20).
10. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(31).
11. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-106(a)(29).
1. A violation of this statute is a Class C misdemeanor, which is increased to a Class A misdemeanor if elements (4) and (5) are applicable. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307(a)(2).
2. It is a defense to prosecution for this offense that the defendant's possession was of an unloaded rifle, shotgun, or handgun not concealed on or about the person and the ammunition for the weapon was not in the immediate vicinity of the person or weapon; or that the defendant was authorized to possess or carry a firearm pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1315; or that the defendant was at the defendant's place of residence, place of business, or premises; or that the possession was incident to lawful hunting, trapping, fishing, camping, sport shooting, or other lawful activity; or that the defendant possessed a rifle or shotgun while engaged in the lawful protection of livestock from predatory animals; or that the defendant was a Tennessee Valley Authority officer who held a valid commission from the commissioner of safety and the possession was while such officer was in the performance of the officer's official duties; or that the defendant was a state, county, or municipal judge or any federal judge or magistrate. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1308(a). However, these defenses are not available to the defendant if he or she has previously been convicted of a felony involving the use or attempted use of force violence, or a deadly weapon or has been convicted of a felony drug offense. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1308(b). The burden of proof on this issue is upon the state to prove its contentions beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. The trial judge should also refer to Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-203 concerning defenses.
4. If the definition of an offense within Title 39 does not plainly dispense with a mental element, intent, knowledge or recklessness suffices to establish the culpable mental state. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-11-301(c). The Committee is of the opinion that the definitions of "intentionally", "knowingly", and "recklessly" should all be charged for element (1) of this offense. See also footnote 2 above.