Under Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1307 , it is illegal to carry a firearm with the intent to go armed. There are some exceptions under the law. For example, having a Tennessee carry permit is one of the exceptions. Ironically, Tennessee’s firearm laws does not define the word carry. The question is can one carry a weapon in a backpack or briefcase and not trigger a violation of the unlawful possession of a weapon law. Lawyers love definitions. Since there are no definitions of carry, it is wide open for the true meaning of carry. The basic definition of carry is to hold. What about a backpack ?
The California Supreme Court recently ruled that there is no distinction between carrying a weapon on ones person verses carrying one in a backpack that is strapped to a person. Here is a part of the court’s ruling…
"The distinction is untenable," Justice Ming Chin wrote. "It would require, for example that we treat differently a gun in a zippered pocket of a pair of cargo pants — which would violate the statute — from a gun in a fanny pack tied around the waist — which would not violate the statute — even though, from the perspective of easy access, the gun at the waist might be closer at hand than the gun in the knee pocket of the cargo pants."
It would be interesting on how the court’s rule in Tennessee. Would the courts give a broader interpretation of the law in Tennessee? After all, the Tennessee state Legislature addresses gun laws in every legislative session. This year it was allowing guns on college campuses. Since unlawful possession of a weapon is a misdemeanor, it is unlikely this type of case would make it to the appellate courts.