Tennessee Background Check Data

In Tennessee, all prospective gun buyers, or those redeeming a firearm from pawn, from a licensed firearm dealer are required to undergo a background check via the Tennessee Instant Check System (TICS) which is administered by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). The TBI publishes statistics on the number of background checks performed for the year.  The statistics include monthly and annual totals for the number of checks/transactions processed, the number of firearms processed (some purchasers may purchase more than one gun as a single transaction), the number of transactions that are denied, the number of stolen guns identified and the number of wanted people identified through the background checks process.

Anyone who feels that their denial was in error may appeal the decision.  Some denials may be overturned.  Possible reasons for being denied include:

Convicted of a felony Indicted for a crime punishable by more than one year
A fugitive from justice A user of illegal drugs or an addict
Involuntarily committed to a mental institution Under an indictment, but not convicted, of a crime carrying a possible year-long prison sentence
Renounced U.S. citizenship Subject to a restraining order for threatening a family member
Convicted of domestic violence Dishonorably discharged from the armed forces

Convicted in any court of a crime which is punishable by a term of more than one year or a misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.

NOTE: The TBI 2018 background check statistical report included data on the number of background checks processed as a”conditional proceed.” This data was not included in previous years’ reports. More detail on “conditional proceeds” can be found below.

TENNESSEE BACKGROUND CHECK DATA
TOTAL CHECKS PROCESSED
TOTAL FIREARMS PROCESSED
DENIALS
STOLEN GUNS IDENTIFIED
WANTED PERSONS IDENTIFIED
CONDITIONAL PROCEED

2018

486,299

543,419

20,770

536

436

3,478

2017

504,540

562,160

20,982

449

451

N/A

2016

541,002

551,305

20,243

502

551

N/A

2015

510,233

566,889

19,880

400

471

N/A

2014

428,017

492,257

17,684

434

426

N/A

2013

418,596

461,635

13,362

382

308

N/A

2012

462,146

509,982

18,023

441

469

N/A

2011

347,792

394,888

13,072

365

359

N/A

2010

298,618

329,965

12,728

319

313

N/A

TOTALS

3,510,944

3,869,081

135,974

3292

3348

N/A

Source: Tennessee Bureau of Investigation

What is a “conditional proceed”?
Firearm transfers will be denied if TBI finds that the potential purchaser has been charged with a crime for which a conviction would cause that purchaser to be prohibited under state or federal law from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm, and a final disposition of the case has not occurred or is not recorded. However, if TBI has received written notice, signed and verified by the clerk of the court or the clerk’s designee, that indicates that no final disposition information is available, TBI must immediately reverse a denial and allow the sale to proceed. Alternatively, if the purchaser challenges a denial, TBI must proceed with efforts to obtain the final disposition information, and the purchaser may assist. If neither the purchaser nor TBI is able to obtain the final disposition information within 15 days, TBI must immediately notify the dealer that the transaction that was initially denied is now a “conditional proceed.” A “conditional proceed” means that the dealer may lawfully transfer the firearm to the purchaser.

Information from The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

For additional information, see Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1316