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How to Become a Gunsmith in Tennessee

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Gunsmiths manufacture and repair firearms. They can also perform specialties such as engraving and modifications. Becoming a gunsmith in Tennessee is the same as any other state in that all states adhere to the federal guidelines set forth by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms or ATF. According to State the career outlook for trained gunsmiths are good and has an expected salary of up to $35,000.00 per year.

Complete an associate’s degree in gunsmithing. Tennessee has many schools offering these programs such as the University of Phoenix in Memphis or Remington College in Nashville. Make certain your chosen program will provide you with intensive training in gun safety, repair, troubleshooting and manufacturing; among other related issues.

Apply for a job with a gunshop repair store so you can get familiar with the work environment and use the hand tools associated with gunsmithing. Reputable gunshops in Tennessee include Austin's Tennessee Gunshop in Knoxville and Bluboy Relics in Gatlinburg, among others. Locate a gunshop near you by referring to your local phone directory or chamber of commerce. You can also visit Gun Shop; one of many websites that has a gunshop map directory of Tennessee.

Enter into an apprenticeship gunsmith program with an established and licensed gunsmith in Tennessee. Any licensed gunsmith can serve as a mentor as long as he is registered with and follows the procedures outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program as required by the state of Tennessee. To become a journeyman gunsmith you are required to work as an apprentice for 8000 hours while learning safety guidelines, metal coating and barrel making among many other subjects. Prior gunshop work experience and gunsmith school training can be applied toward the 8000 hours with proper documentation such as transcripts or a letter of recommendation from a gunstore owner.

Submit ATF Form 7 (5310.12) to get your federal firearms license. You are required to provide fingerprints and a photograph with the application so you cannot apply online. These can be taken by a federally licensed collector such as your local police department.To have the form mailed to you free of charge, visit the ATF website and follow the ordering instructions.


In addition to gun manufacture and repair, many gunsmiths become firearm instructors. Keep in mind that each phase of gunsmithing may have a separate license required by federal law.


Guns are dangerous. Be certain that you are comfortable with your training before you handle a firearm.

Be certain any company you work for is fully licensed and compliant.

Your license application(s) may require a monetary fee or tax. Read your form instructions carefully.

Your criminal history will be checked during the application process and depending on circumstances a criminal history can prevent you from becoming licensed for gunsmithing.

Gunsmith licenses are not the same as a gun permit. A gun permit is required for your personal weapon and can be obtained through the Tennessee Department of Safety.


Yvonne Ward began her professional writing career in 2004. She wrote a true-crime book published in 2010 and has two more underway. She also has a strong background in business, education and farm living. Ward is pursuing a Master of Arts in history and culture from Union Institute and University.

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