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How Many Handgun Permits Have Been Issued In Tennessee?

        The Tennessee Department of Safety became the regulator of the handgun program in 1996.  Prior to that time, Tennessee Sheriff's were the regulators.  The Sheriff's did the background checks, charged whatever they wanted, took the applications, and issued the handgun permits. Because of problems with some Sheriff's, the handgun program was placed with the Tennessee Department of Safety through legislation.  Since 1996, there has been a question as to how many handgun permits have been issued in Tennessee, and how many are still in effect.  It seems like an easy question for the regulator.  How many permits have you issued?  Because it is computerized, a push of a few buttons should produce the correct number of active handgun permits.  However, the numbers that are produced always seem to be different.  I hope this article will set the correct number, minus some permit holders who may have died or moved out of state.  These individuals are still in the records and will not be deducted from the total until they fail to renew their Tennessee Handgun Permit.

        One of the problems in trying to come up with an accurate number of "issued" handgun permits in Tennessee is the way the data is entered by the Tennessee Department of Safety.  They consider a "duplicate" permit as an "in-force" permit.  Although they isolated new, renewal, and duplicate permits in their reports, they group them all together when they compute totals.  If the search is for a total number of permits issued in Tennessee, any "duplicate" permits must be deducted from the total.  This is because a "duplicate" permit is only an additional permit that a Tennessee Handgun Permits Holder has in their possession just in case they loose their original permit or for other reasons.  By including the duplicate permits in the total number of permits issued, the end result is a higher number of permits than what has been issued.  Since I have been collecting this data since 1997, I have always deducted the duplicate permits from the total figures.  I also deduct the number of handgun permits that have been rescinded or returned by the post office to the Department of Safety.  Doing it in this manner should result in the actual number of handgun permits issued in Tennessee.  However, is the data correct?  Were the entries made correctly?  Has the data been corrupted?  These questions bring up disturbing areas.  How could the data be corrupted?

    In the years 2000 to 2001, I  received a large number of telephone and e-mail messages from handgun permit holders who did not receive a renewal letter, and forgot about the date on their permit.  As a result they passed their renewal date, and their handgun permit was no longer valid.  They faced the question of taking the whole process over.  Training, fingerprints, investigation, photos, and the costs involved with obtaining a "new" handgun permit.  Some went through the process and some did not.  Why bring this area up?  After all, it is up to the individual to know when their handgun permit expires.  I did not think too much about it.  I told the individuals I was sorry but, the renewal was their mistake even though they said they did not receive a reminder from the Tennessee Department of Safety about renewing their handgun permit.  Did all of these people receive a renewal letter or didn't they?  It wasn't until I started receiving some calls from citizens who did receive a handgun permit renewal letter, but did not know what it was all about!  They had never held a Tennessee Handgun Permit!  This did not make sense unless, the computer system used by the Tennessee Department of Safety had malfunctioned.  When I contacted the T.D.O.S. regarding this situation, I was told all is well.  I continued to present the question at different times.  Not until I requested and received the handgun permit reports for the year 2001, did I realize the figures were way out of whack.  It was months after I presented my findings to the T.D.O.S., that I was told there was a malfunction with the computer.  They were in the process of re-doing all of the figures for the year 2001.  After waiting over five (5) months, I received the new reports.  Is the information correct?  How did they arrive at the figures?   I don't know but, I am going to use them because if I keep bothering them, I might loose my handgun permit and my instructor certificate!  What I present in this article is the data I have collected since 1996.  It may be the only data that exists that is not skewed. In my estimation, it is as close to the actual number of handgun permits that exist in Tennessee.

Handgun Permit Statistics From The Year 1997

New Permits Issued

35,295   

Renewal Permit Issued

4,525   

Revoked Permits

221   

Postal Returns

664

Total

38,935

Handgun Permit Statistics From The Year 1998

New Permits Issued

24,547   

Renewal Permit Issued

1,218  

Revoked Permits

691 

Postal Returns

753  

Total

24,321

Handgun Permit Statistics From The Year 1999

New Permits Issued

  21,655 

Renewal Permit Issued

6,607

Revoked Permits

1,172

Postal Returns

2,006

Total

25,084

Handgun Permit Statistics From The Year 2000

New Permits Issued

17,633   

Renewal Permit Issued

2,265  

Revoked Permits & Postal Return

4,236

Total

15,662

 

Handgun Permit Statistics From The Year 2001

New Permits Issued

16,591   

Renewal Permit Issued

34,752  

Revoked Permits & Postal Return

274

Total

51,069

Total Tennessee Handgun Permits As Of The Year 2000

24,321 (1997) + 21,655 (1998) + 25,084 (1999) + 15,662 (2000) = 91,722
In the year of 2001, only the new handgun permits issued minus those that were revoked or returned by the Post Office, should be added.  This is because all of the renewal handgun permits were already added in the prior years as "new" or "renewal" permits.  Adding them back in would inflate the number of actual permits.
1997 through 2000 =91,722 + New Handgun Permits Issued in 2001 16,591 = 108,313    

108,313 should be the total number of handgun permits issued in Tennessee through the years 1997 -  2001.

In my estimation, the above numbers are as close to the actual number of handgun permits issued.  Another reason why the above figures are important is that after the year 2000, all additional figures only need to have the "new" handgun permits added not the "renewal" permits.  Because the Tennessee Handgun Permit is a four (4) year permit, the citizens who were issued new and renewal permits in the year 1997, have to renew their handgun permits in the year 2000.  Starting with the year 2001, only "new" permits issued would be added in the count to achieve the total number of handgun permits issued because; all the other handgun permits are in the former years as either "new" or "renewal" permits.  If you add them back into the figures, the actual number of handgun permits will be flawed because data has been entered two times.

I have requested the data from the years 2002 that has been collected and entered into the system.  These figures should be available one (1) month after they are received.  I am writing this article on June 19, 2002.  I have yet to receive any of the years of 2002.  As soon as I receive them, they will be posted to this site.

I have attached a copy of one of the reports from the prior years to validate how the above data was formulated.  It is unfortunate that the numbers are as skewed as they are.  However, the data I received was before the computer malfunctioned.  As far as I know, these reports are the only ones that exist from that time.  As such, they contain the actual numbers as released at that time by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

This article was written to validate the statistics within this site as to the number of handgun permits issued in each and every county in Tennessee.  I believe that these numbers show that individuals who have obtained a Tennessee Handgun Permit are responsible individuals.  All of the articles written before the handgun permit process was enacted into law, about how the streets will run red with the blood of innocent citizens if this law went into effect, have been found to hold no truth because of actual history.

A point I wish to make on this article of the handgun permits, is regarding "rescinded or revoked" handgun permits.  When the Tennessee Law was amended to allow for the issuance of the handgun permit within ninety (90) days, if nothing was revealed within this period of time that was detrimental regarding the applicant, the numbers above do not indicate if the permit was revoked because of criminal history or incidents that occurred before or after the individuals received the handgun permit.  What does this mean?  If a person lied on the original application about something that occurred in their past, only the fingerprints may reveal this fact.   The investigation of the fingerprints by the Federal Bureau Of Investigations may not be completed within this 90 day corridor.  Because of this, the permit is issued.   When the fingerprint investigation is completed months later, it may reveal that the applicant had a history of violence, criminal history, or anything that might have prevented him or her from being eligible to obtain the handgun permit from the onset.   However, since they lied or did not think the incident was detrimental to them, the permit was issued because this information was not available from the beginning.  It is for this reason that the above numbers do not reflect if the permit was revoked or rescinded because of situations that occurred after the person received their handgun permit or before they even submitted the original application.  Those who may try and use the figures as ammunition against the permit process should be aware that because of the way the law is crafted in Tennessee, these figures may not support their findings that so many handgun permits were revoked because of criminal or violent activities.  The incidents that affect these individuals may have happened way before the person even submitted the original application. Some had their handgun permit re-instated when they submitted favorable evidence regarding the incident.

If you would like to comment on this article or e-mail it to a friend, please use the forms provided.

Very truly yours,

Gene Kennedy  

 

 

 

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