Any person appropriately licensed by the federal government may stock and sell firearms to any potential purchaser not ineligible to receive firearms because such recipient has been convicted of stalking, 2 is addicted to alcohol, is prohibited under the prohibited categories of federal law 3 or has been judicially committed to a mental institution or adjudicated as a mental defective.
TBI may require that the dealer verify the identification of the purchaser if that identity is in question by sending thumbprints of the purchaser to TBI. 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.
Sellers of firearms who are not federally licensed dealers are not required to conduct background checks on purchasers in Tennessee. See Tenn. However, if the identity is accurate, the information contained in the report may nonetheless contain errors or inaccuracies. The State of Tennessee provides an administrative process for correcting errors. One can send a report of errors to the State and a set of fingerprints with any corrections considered necessary to make the record accurate. The State reviews the request and information and upon agreement they provide a procedure to correct to the official record.
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If they do not agree, then the individual must go further, and possibly file a court action to compel the State to correct the records. The advice and assistance of counsel would be helpful in this situation as the laws of expungement and criminal records in Tennessee are complex.
Tennessee Criminal Records
On May 1, , the Tennessee Legislature passed a law to make it easier to obtain an expungement of a criminal conviction, and the procedure is currently found in Tenn. Code Ann. The eligibility for expungement is narrow; one must have no more than one non-violent offense and meet detailed requirements including time and a record free of additional arrests or violations. Eligible offenses have two classes, those committed before November 1, and those committed after that date.
To qualify for expungement of an offense committed on or after November 1, , the applicant must meet the following requirements.
The Applicant may not have had a previous expungement and must not have a conviction for any other offense, state or federal, than the one for which he or she requests expungement. The applicant must show that he or she completed all of the requirements of the sentence.
There must be a five-year period from the completion of the sentence. For listed non-violent offenses committed prior to November 1, , applicants must petition for expungement. To qualify they must meet three elements.
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First, they have never had a previous expungement. Second, they must have been sentenced to three years or less of a determinate sentence. Third, if given an indeterminate sentence, they must have served less than three years. The County Courts in Tennessee maintain official records; they are the primary source of official information that the TBI collects and maintains for the state.
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In any search of court records, one should also contact the clerk of the court that heard the case and issued the conviction and related orders. The system may not have digitally preserved and transferred all records to the State system, and some records may have more information in the courthouse paper records, or other record forms.
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