Proponents of the guns in bars bill point out that those who do chose to carry their handgun into a bar are prohibited from serving alcohol.
But District 33 Metro Councilman Robert Duvall, who opposes Council efforts to intercede on the issue, pointed out the nightmare scenario where someone eating at a bar would be held up and, because of this law, would then have the ability to legally respond.
But one Metro beat cop who patrols the downtown honky-tonks and nightclubs sees things differently. He’s Sgt. Geoff Odom who supervises the night bicycle patrol unit downtown.
Pointing to the inordinate number of after-hours assaults that have taken place in the hours after bars close in the downtown area, Odom worried about a scenario where “some thug takes a gun away from a law-abiding citizen who now has the right to carry.”
Since the beginning of the year, the intersection of Second Avenue and Commerce has had 75 calls for assaults. The nightclub Graham Central Station has had 38 assault calls on its own.
“Permit holders, while they get a limited amount of training to learn functionality of a handgun, they are not like police officers where they are put into training scenarios where they are required to retain that weapon in an event of an attack,” Odom said. “So if they lose that weapon to some thug out there on Second [Avenue] when the bars are closing and that guy gets that weapon and begins to fire indiscriminately, who’s going to get hit?”
— Nate Rau
BY THE NUMBERS
As proponents of the guns in bars legislation like to say, there are 37 states that have “shall issue” laws which require the issuance of a conceal and carry permit.
• 27 states explicitly prohibit guns in places that serve alcohol (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming)
• 3 states do not issue, or only issue to business owners (Illinois, New York and Wisconsin)
• 4 states have no preemption laws, therefore allowing cities to prohibit guns in bars (California, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island)
• 15 states have “shall issue” laws, preempt local government from regulating firearms and do not explicitly ban guns in drinking establishment (Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia)
• 1 state has legislation to allow, by right, permit holders to carry guns in establishments that serve alcohol — Tennessee
Source: Nashville law firm Smith & Schmidt