Tennessee employers– you can generally keep weapons off your property, but if you want to prosecute violators, you need the right sign. And, effective July 1, 2016, the state has changed what it says is an acceptable sign.
The new requirements are very specific. The notice must:
- Be displayed in “prominent locations including all entrances primarily used by persons entering the property;”
- Be “plainly visible to the average person entering the property;”
- Be in English, and it also may be duplicated in any language used by persons who frequent the property;
- Include the phrase “NO FIREARMS ALLOWED” and that phrase must be at least one inch high and eight inches wide;
- Include the phrase “as authorized by T.C.A. § 39-17-1359” (apparently in any size you want); and
- Include a “pictorial representation of the phrase ‘NO FIREARMS ALLOWED,’” and if you were wondering what exactly that means, the statute tells you. It must include a “circle with a diagonal line through the circle and an image of a firearm inside the circle under the diagonal line.” The “pictorial representation” must be at least four inches high and four inches wide, and the diagonal line must be at a 45 degree angle from the upper left of the circle to the lower right side of the circle.
If the building or property is posted with a proper “no firearms” notice, then possession of a weapon on posted property is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. Even if you are a handgun carry permit holder, you can still commit a Class B misdemeanor for possessing a weapon on posted property. However, handgun-carry permit holders are permitted to keep their firearms and ammunition locked inside their vehicles even if the property is posted in accordance with Tennessee’s so-called “guns-in-trunks” law.
There is a grace period for compliance with the new law. Individuals, businesses, and government entities that were already posted as no-weapons areas as of January 1, 2015 have until January 1, 2018 to replace the signs with signs that meet the new statute’s requirements. If, however, you are late to the “no weapons” posting party, make sure you get a compliant sign.