People had questions after a reported threat that turned out to be a false alarm on the Appalachian Trail Monday afternoon.
Reports of a machete-wielding man turned out to be a man carrying a guitar. Still, many people wanted to know what the rights and regulations were for using guns to defend themselves if needed while hiking the AT.
The Appalachian Trail goes through 14 states from Georgia to Maine, and the gun laws differ in each. To complicate things, you also have to be mindful of federal gun regulations inside National Parks and Forests that the trail passes through.
Also, some states do not recognize other states' firearm permits.
If you have a proper concealed carry permit issued by the state of Tennessee, you are allowed to carry a concealed firearm in states that recognize the TN permit. Those states are Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
There are some states where a Tennessee carry permit is not recognized, though. Those are Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
If you are in a National Park like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or a National Forest like the Cherokee National Forest, you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon so long as you've never been convicted of a felony and have a proper permit.
You still need to comply with state and local laws, though, and aren't allowed to bring firearms in certain park facilities and buildings marked with signs at the entrance.
In short, if you have a permit in Tennessee and are hiking the AT in Tennessee, you are generally allowed to carry a handgun with you.