Guns-in-bars statute expected in court today

Friday, November 20, 2009 at 2:56am

Today a lawsuit filed by a coalition of restaurant and bar owner seeking to shoot down the controversial gun in bars statute is scheduled to be heard in Davidson County Chancery Court.

Lawyers representing Sunset Grille owner Randy Rayburn and 13 other unnamed plaintiffs plan to argue against the law that allows permit holders to carry firearms in establishments that serve alcohol before Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman.

The Plaintiff's attorney David Randolph Smith has argued the guns in bars statute — Public Chapter 339 — is unconstitutionally vague because of the the state's regulatory framework, which holds a different classification for a “restaurant” and a “bar.”

The plaintiffs say because Chapter 339 fails to differentiate between the two, “the public and permit holders have no way to know when they go out to a 'restaurant' that serves alcohol whether or not firearms carry is lawful because of the vague definition of a restaurant in Public Chapter 399,” according to a filing.

The lawyers have also argued the guns in bars statute infringes upon an employee's right to a safe workplace under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and represents an unlawful delegation of authority to bar and restaurant owners.

Lawyers for the Attorney General's office, the key defendant in this case along with the state of Tennessee, contend the chancery court does not have the standing to challenge a piece of legislation.

The Attorney General also argues the “plaintiffs lack standing to bring this action as they have failed to demonstrate distinct and palpable injury from the enactment of Chapter 339. The entire controversy depends upon future or contingent events, hypothetical situations and theoretical, as opposed to actual legal issues.”


39 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 11/20/09 at 3:04

Why are the other 13 "plantiffs" unamed? Dosn't sound very American to me.

One thing for sure is that I will NEVER set foot in the Sunset Grill , the owner is an idiot wasteing taxpayers time and money on something he thinks might happen.

Permit holders have a better record than cops and for the record no I don't have a CCP.

The case should be dismissed as the plantiff(s) suffered no damage. Even "IF" someone was shot in his place by a permit holder he still would not have standing. Hope the lawyer charged him a lot of money.

By: dargent7 on 11/20/09 at 5:26

TWO points: Why do armed civilians, legally, find it necessary to frequent a bar in the first place? They cannot drink, except a Coke for $4.00. Maybe it's the music?
And why announce you're carrying? There are NOT metal detectors at the entrances and the bartender/ hostess doesn't pat you down. So, why not just carry on and keep your mouth shut? No one would know you had a piece. If a robbery did occur, and you saved the day, many lives, and was a hero, the DA would slap you on the wrist.

By: govskeptic on 11/20/09 at 7:35

I'm glad this is now proceeding, gee I haven't seen
Randy on TV for about 2-3 weeks now!

By: idgaf on 11/20/09 at 8:31

7 because they are law abiding citizens not criminals.

Even though the law may be un-Constitutional/ illegal it is the law on the books right now and good citizens like to comply with the law.

They don't want to get arrested, spend money to defend themselves in court and lose their carry permit.

So much for all of your rightiousness which you like to display for whoever will listen to you and take you seriously as anything but a flaming lefty.

By: Blanketnazi2 on 11/20/09 at 8:36

id, my problem is that if people are not convicted of a crime they're eligible for a carry permit. so, if they have a slick lawyer and keep getting charges dismissed or lowered, they can still carry a weapon. do you want that person in a bar armed?

By: yogiman on 11/20/09 at 8:44

Can any of the bar/restaurant owners name one incident where a law abiding citizen pulled a gun on anyone?

I didn't think so.

Thieves, knowing there can be no gun in the place will not hesitate to rob it, or perhaps shoot someone.

And I wouldn't think the owner would need a law to restrict a gun in their place of business. Just hope the criminals don't know that.

By: NGNG34 on 11/20/09 at 9:06

If a restaurant owner does not want CHP holders carrying a weapon in their businesses then all they have to do is post the sign designated per the law at the entrance. What the plaintiffs are trying to do is deny other restaurant owners the right to allow CHP holders to carry in their businesses. Their case is weak however if one cannot blame weapons for crime then one might have to blame criminals and too many people simply do not have the moral courage to do so. Let's hope the judge sees through this. Contrary to the predictions of gun grabbers statewide since this law was passed I have not had to step over any shot-up corpses on the way to the men's room.

By: EquinsuOcha on 11/20/09 at 9:07

I'll leave my gun at money too

By: vechester on 11/20/09 at 9:37

What is being missed in this discussion is one simple fact: criminals really don't care what signs say in the window or door, and they will not hesitate going armed into a restaurant or bar regardless of what the law says. These are people who will not obey laws and who may have nefarious intent when going into a place that serves alcohol.

So this law, or any law restricting gun carry punishes only the law-abiding citizens who are not the problem. AND, it ignores the known fact that criminals, or anyone with criminal intent, can and will just walk in to hurt or kill regardless of what the law says.

So these laws are politically motivated at best and seek to water down or eliminate the individual's right to carry as defined in the 2nd Amendment. And don't try to tell me that it is only militias that was the intent of the 2nd Amendment. Militias were comprised of individuals who were armed and ready to serve. The militia simply aided in their organization.

-Semper Fi
-A Militia of One

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/20/09 at 9:41

I just love it when all you rednecks who are too chicken to go out to eat say you aren't going to do business with restaurants and bars that don't want guns in their establishment. Good, don't eat there. That's exactly what the rest of us want. Problem solved. Now shut up and quit whining.

By: idgaf on 11/20/09 at 10:03

I am surprised no resturant offered a discount to CCP holders. Lots of free publicity there.

No imagination.

By: amoobrasil on 11/20/09 at 10:12

The following is from The Huffington Post: ttp://

"According to the new Violence Policy Center on-line resource CCW Killers, during the period May 2007 through October 2009 concealed handgun permit holders killed eight law enforcement officers and 77 private citizens (including 10 shooters who killed themselves after an attack). "

So much for the credibility of the unbelievable, naked assertion that gun owners holding permits are more responsible than police officers.

The article goes on to point out that states that give people permits to carry concealed guns are reticent to publish incidents involving permit holders. (As a result, the statistics above are probably understated. Silence and stiffling or muzzling such incidents is not proof that they do not occur.) Could it be that the legislatures responsible for such laws profess public accountability but in fact want to AVOID accountability for themselves, gun manufacuturers, and gun lobbyists?

And, to those who prefer worshiping before "conservative" symbols, labels, platitudes, and slogans to employing reasoned discussion and verifiable data, I ask, what about the "conservative" principle that individuals, within reason, should have the last say in what they will and will not allow in their own private places of business? Here we have government telling those owners what they will allow--even though it is reasonable to leave it up to them to decide whether they want armed civilians in their establishments, given the recent, recorded, fatal use of firearms in such establishments by people licensed to carry them.

The problem of such "conservatives" is not that they fear government; their problem is how they can get government to force their will on the rest of us. I believe that I speak for the vast, silent majority when I say that I feel a bit easier if I am reasonably certain that no one in a restaurant is carrying a firearm loaded with live ammunition.

By: govskeptic on 11/20/09 at 10:38

Brazil you lost many of us with your Huffington Post
reference and then the Violence Policy Center make
up their own numbers to fit their cause. How
reasonable certain have you ever been in a
restaurant as to who does or doesn't have a
weapon. Any restaurant right now only has to post
their sign and then the only ones in said
establishment will be the ones who care less what
any law on this subject has to say.

By: idgaf on 11/20/09 at 10:50

amoobrasil, I am glad you are not my neighbor.

Mine if I call for help I know they will be armed and actually be able to help me.and I would do the same for them.

By: terri615 on 11/20/09 at 11:06


This is ridiculous. People shouldn't go around in a bar carrying weapons. Keep yourself at home if you plan on something happening. Bars are trouble waiting to happen anyways. The owner needs to stop wasting tax payers dollars on this type of crap. Our government takes enough of it anyway. The only person in a bar that should have a gun is the owner in case there is a robbery. This is just my thought.

By: vechester on 11/20/09 at 11:10

Ah contraire, Highly Annoying. I eat out often and I am relaxed when I do so. However, you are resorting to name calling and cheap insults which indicates your position is weak and indefensible.

Look, you are entitled to your opinion, but to your own set of facts. The facts I stated above are quite clear. The problem you are having is the conflict of your personal beliefs with the facts I presented. You liberals always go down the same path. You "feel" the need to control and regulate others, mostly through laws that are not constitutional. Then you get boxed into a corner when someone calls you on it and then, well, you just start calling us names... It gets old.

Now if you really want the Constitution to ban guns, you can do so by going through the Amendment processes. You can propose an Amendment that will restrict me from owning or carrying a gun. Of course, criminals will still do what they do, and guns will still exists in our society. But politically, you can have a "feel good" moment if you want. Go ahead, propose the Amendment, see how that hope and change works for you.

By: GUARDIAN on 11/20/09 at 11:12


By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/20/09 at 11:16

Nice strawman, vechester. I'm not a liberal. If you want to know my position on gun control, just ask. Instead you are being intellectually dishonest by assuming you know my position. And, insulting gun nuts doesn't take away from my argument if I decide to make one. Nice try though.

By: Cookie47 on 11/20/09 at 11:18


What do don't understand is HCP holders carry LEGALLY and chances are you'll NEVER know they're carrying. They're not required to but they conceal their weapons. Most carry concealed so not to draw unwanted attention to themselves. A thug couldn't care less what the law is and will carry wherever they want, the law be damned.

If you'll notice, in this case, it's not the HCP holders whining. It's the restaurant owner that's whining and you're just bitching.

As for what the rest of you want, you now have that at the restaurants Rayburn owns - a gun-free kill zone where every thug knows it. ENJOY!!!


By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/20/09 at 11:23

Cookie47 - quit being retarded if that's possible. You aren't saying anything I don't understand because you have nothing new to say. Oh yes, all the thugs are going to start killing people at the Sunset grill. Yeah, right. You nutjobs have been watching too many movies.

By: Cookie47 on 11/20/09 at 11:33


The fact that you do nothing but sling names and insults proves you have nothing to bring to the argument. It's people like you that made me resolve long ago to only draw my weapon to protect my family and myself.

If you truly understood why people get their HCP, you'd be able to discuss this topic with some intelligence. Please research why people get their permit then come back to the discussion. It's difficult for all of us to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person such as yourself. (Yes, that was an insult.)


By: GUARDIAN on 11/20/09 at 11:34

AMOOBRASIL you wouldn't have to feel unsafe going out to eat if you were my neighbor. I would take your worries away and bring you three meals a day. They would be on your front porch morning, noon and night in a brown bag and I would set them on fire to before I rang your door bell to make sure they stayed warm.

By: Captain Nemo on 11/20/09 at 12:21

By: idgaf on 11/20/09 at 10:50
amoobrasil, I am glad you are not my neighbor.

Mine if I call for help I know they will be armed and actually be able to help me.and I would do the same for them.

Careful id, they maybe coming to hang you.

By: kennyj on 11/20/09 at 2:38

You profess to speak for "the rest of us", where is your data supporting that the "rest of us" share your opinion? Those of your ilk are "chicken littles" who rant and rave with no logic, only emotion. Every State that enacted CCW permits had a few obnoxious citizens claiming that there would be shoot outs in the street, none of which has happened. Arizona has allowed guns in bars since the Spring and has not had a single incident. I'm sure England, Australia, and any number of petty dictatorships would welcome you as a citizen.
As for Amoosbrasil, quoting from the Violence Policy Center is, on the face of it, unreliable--they have an agenda. Do they publish the other side of the coin--how many CCW or firearms owners have been able to defend their lives, their family's lives, as well as the general public? Trying to impose conclusions from only one source of highly opinonated data does no lend credibility to your arguements.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/21/09 at 10:40

Cookie47 - wow, talk about hypocrisy. Your post overflowed with hypocrisy. I know, I know... you just don't get it. Can't feel sorry for you though.

By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/22/09 at 11:18

KennyJ - if you had any brains whatsoever, you would know I'm not speaking for you. I'm only speaking for people that aren't so afraid that they have to carrry a gun with them everywhere they go. Obviously that doesn't include you.

By: Cookie47 on 11/23/09 at 8:03


1. You have nothing to bring to the table other than your intense dislike of guns and those of us that carry them.

2. No, I would not protect anyone other than my family and myself simply due to the fact the life I save my be yours or someone like you. It would be a waste of perfectly good ammo.

3. You don't understand why most HCP holders carry and have no intention of educating yourself which makes you yet another stupid, blowhard, uneducated liberal.

4. Yes, my last point about you not having any wits was an insult and I pointed that out. Hypocrisy? Yes. Fact? Most definitely!!!

As stated before, the only thing you bring to this discussion is your dislike of guns and those that carry them. What I bring is a damn good reason why I carry, the knowledge of the law, and the willingness to point out the lack of knowledge and stupidity on the subject by people like you.

You may call it what you want, hypocrisy if you like. I don't care. What it all boils down to is, on this subject, you are and will probably continue to be just another stupid, blowhard, uneducated liberal.

At this point, I must say thank you. I must say that in writing you I've found it fun and amusing to tweek you, make you mad, and point out your stupidity and lack of knowledge on the subject of Handgun Carry Permits and their holders. It's been a pleasure so thank you.

Yes, this post was FULL of insults. I'll wholeheartedly point that out. Now, educate yourself then lets have an intelligent give and take rather than the crap you're spewing.


By: HighlyAnnoyed on 11/23/09 at 8:41

Cookie47 - in addition to being retarded, you are also intellectually dishonest. Here's the thing - your last post is full of ASSUMPTIONS about me that aren't true. This is called creating a strawman argument. Google it. I shouldn't have to explain this to people. But, there are alot of retards on the internet such as yourself. Basically you are unworthy of any real debate because you aren't actually debating someone based upon their position on something. Instead you prefer to make assumptions about them and type a bunch of crap based on that. I will not respond to you anymore because you are a waste of time.

By: Cookie47 on 11/23/09 at 9:37


Here's the facts. For someone to get a HCP, they must take a state approved class where they pass a written test and qualify on the shooting range. If they pass, they get a certificate of qualification. This certificate is taken to the Department of Safety (DOS) where they fill out the HCP application, pay their fee, then wait for the DOS to run a background check with the TBI and FBI. (This includes if there's any history of mental problems so your assumption of me or any other HCP holder being retarded holds no water.) If the applicant passes the background checks, they're issued a HCP. We MUST know the law because if we don't we can loose not just our permit to carry but our freedom as well.

Since getting mine, I have also had additional training and spent countless hours at the range.

From your posts, it's obvious you would not have the patience, intellect, intestinal fortitude, and probably not the clean criminal record to get your own HCP. (Yes, that's an assumption but one I'm confident is probably true.) Since you can do nothing but call people retards when they don't agree with you like some middle-schooler, it's very clear to everyone you couldn't pass the mental evaluation as you would be thought far too immature to receive a HCP.

Sincerely, leave the HCP holders alone. We're not the bad guys no matter what you may think of me. (I couldn't care less.) Try spending your energy going after the criminals rather than the law-abiding HCP holders. Coming after us is a waste of your time as we're not going anywhere.


By: Cookie47 on 11/23/09 at 4:37

I guess HighlyAnnoyed just couldn't argue the with facts in an adult manner. Maybe next time.


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