The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office offers gun safety education classes several times during the year for residents of Bradley County that wish to obtain a Tennessee handgun carry permit. The usual schedule includes Friday night classroom instruction at the Judicial Center and qualifying with the handgun on Saturday.

If you are interested in receiving this training you should contact the customer service office at 728-7301 so you can be notified by mail of the date and times for the next class and what you should bring to the class. 

Sheriff Jim Ruth, a certified firearms instructor, has provided handgun safety training for thousands of individuals since the sheriff’s office started the program.

You must be 21 years old and have no state or federal conviction that would prevent you from purchasing or possessing a firearm. Classes are limited to approximately 30 students.    

Each person completing the handgun safety class receives a certificate showing they have completed a certified handgun school. You should take the original copy of your certificate, $115 cash or certified check, and proof of citizenship (see below), to a Department of Safety Driver License Station to make application for a handgun carry permit. If the applicant meets all criteria applications are generally processed in 90 days. (See update below for additional information.)

During the processing period the applicant will be notified of a time and location to have their fingerprints taken.

Permits are good for four (4) years and entitle the holder to carry any handgun which the permittee legally owns or possesses. Permits must be in the immediate possession of the permittee when carrying a handgun and must be displayed on demand of a law enforcement officer.

To obtain more information about the handgun carry program log onto the Department of Safety web site, There is also information for new residents of Tennessee who posses handgun carry permits from their former state of residence.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office does not charge for this service, however, a five-dollar ($5.00) fee applies for use of a privately owned range.

Department of Safety qualifications for obtaining a handgun permit:

Department of Safety requirements for obtaining a handgun permit:

  • Effective July 1, 2005, all new handgun permit applicants must provide proof of U.S. Citizenship or Lawful Permanent Residency unless such applicant has already provided this proof and it is documented on their driver license record.
  • Effective July 1, 2005, Tennessee handgun carry permit law will now allow certain applicants already exempt from complying with firing range provisions of the current statute to also be exempt from any classroom requirements. Those current exceptions are applicants who proof to the department that within five (5) years from the date of application for handgun permit, the applicant has:
    1. Been certified by the police officer's standards and training commission, or
    2. Successfully completed training at the law enforcement training academy; or
    3. Successfully completed the firearms training course required for armed security guards; or
    4. Successfully completed all handgun training of not less than four (4) hours as required by any branch of the military.
    • Applicants are required to be a resident of the State of Tennessee;
    • Be at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
    • Applicants shall not have been convicted of any felony offense punishable for a term exceeding one (1) year;
    • Applicants shall not currently be under indictment or information for any criminal offense punishable by a term exceeding one (1) year;
    • Shall not be currently the subject of any order of protection;
    • Shall not be a fugitive from justice;
    • Shall not be an unlawful user of or addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance and the applicant has not been a patient in a rehabilitation program or hospitalized for alcohol or controlled substance abuse or addiction within ten (10) years from the date of application;
    • The applicant has not been convicted of the offense of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in this or any other State two (2) or more times within ten (10) years from the date of application and that none of such convictions has occurred within five (5) years from the date of application or renewal.
    • Shall not have been adjudicated as mental defective; has not been committed to or hospitalized in a mental institution; has not had a court appoint a conservator for the applicant by reason of a mental defect; has not been judicially determined to be disabled by reason of a mental illness, development disability or other mental incapacity; and has not, within seven (7) years from the date of application, been found by a court to pose an immediate substantial likelihood of serious harm, as defined in Title 33, Chapter 6, Part 5, because of mental illness;
    • Shall not be an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
    • Shall not have been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions (dishonorable discharge, bad conduct discharge or other than honorable discharge Chapter 1340-2-5-.02 (5);
    • Having been a citizen of the United States, applicants shall not have renounced their citizenship;
    • Shall not have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence as defined in 18 U.S.C.A. 921 (33);
    • Shall not be receiving social security disability benefits by reason of alcohol dependence, drug dependence or mental disability;
    • Shall not have been convicted of the offense of stalking.
    • Applicant shall submit proof of the successful completion of a department approved Handgun Safety Course within the past six (6) months. Call (615) 251-8590 to find out locations and phone numbers of schools.
    • Submit application at any Driver License Exam Station location.
    • Applicant is required to present a photo ID to the department at the time of filing the application.
    • Pay $115 non-refundable application fee payable by cash or certified check.
    • Applicant will be given a toll free number to call and schedule a fingerprint appointment.
    • Incomplete applications cannot be processed.

Update: When applying for a Handgun permit at the Drivers License Exam station - 
To comply with Homeland Security guidelines the state Department of Safety requires  you bring a Birth Certificate or Passport in addition to a photo ID.  Most Tennessee Birth Certificates are available from the Bradley County Health Department on Dooley Street. Contact them for details and applicable fees.