A Tennessee CCW permit lets you carry a full-size 1911, an automatic pistol with a 5-inch barrel. So far so good, but if you carry an automatic knife like this Benchmade Adamas you’re probably breaking the law. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but fortunately the Tennessee legislature is in the process of fixing it.
Under current state law, switchblades are a criminal no-no of the PITA misdemeanor variety, and so are knives (like this Cold Steel Espada) with blades longer than 4 inches, if they are carried ‘for the purpose of going armed.’ The rule of thumb seems to be that if you’re carrying a big knife as a tool (i.e., for hunting or fishing or chopping through the brush on your back 40) rather than as a weapon, then you’re not carrying it ‘for the purpose of going armed’ and it’s all good. But good luck convincing the police of that distinction.
Volunteer State law currently allows carry of sub-4″ knives, including assisted openers. Schools and courthouses are no-knife zones just like they are almost everywhere else, but county and local ordinances also impose a patchwork of additional restrictions on what blades a law-abiding Tennessean can carry and where.