KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The number remains at 26 in the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history after a gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday.
Another church shooting happened in Antioch in September when a shooter killed a woman and injured several others at Burnette Chapel Church.
Some local churches are now reevaluating their security policies, wondering if more should be done, including the thought of having armed personnel. It’s a simple process to get a gun in Tennessee and it takes less time than getting a pizza.
Dave Rolen at Smoky Mountain Guns and Ammo says it all begins with your driver’s license.
“If you are a Tennessee resident, what we would need is a valid Tennessee ID and after that we will fill out the background check form, run it through TBI’s instant check system, and after that if you come back approved, you can take the gun with you today,” he said.
The process could take only 10 to 15 minutes.
The background check form starts with simple questions like name and address. Then some automatic disqualifications follow, like having a felony, being dishonorably discharged from the military, any type of domestic violence, or if you’ve had a DUI within the last six months. That’s when the TBI stops the process.
“They don’t let us know what flags someone. All we get is that they’re denied, unless it’s something bad, someone has a warrant out for their arrest and then they’ll call us and ask us to stall these people until police arrive, and we’ve had that happen several times,” said Rolen.
There are age restrictions in Tennessee as well. Those 18 and older can buy shotguns and rifles, but you have to be at least 21 to buy a handgun.
Regardless of the firearm, the background paperwork and process is exactly the same, and there’s no limit to how many firearms you can buy in Tennessee.
It’s also legal in Tennessee to buy guns from a private seller. In that case, Rolen says there’s no required paperwork, but it is recommended to at least get a bill of sale to prove you no longer own the firearm, just to protect yourself. This tends to happen gun shows in Tennessee and other states as well. There are no background checks with a private sale. This is the so-called “gun show loophole” that some lawmakers want to close.