New guns-in-bars bill hops first hurdle

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at 2:58pm

A new guns-in-bars bill — this one aimed at overcoming the objections of a Nashville judge — cleared its first hurdle Wednesday in the state House over the objections of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, which claimed it would hurt business.

The legislation, adopted on a voice vote by the House Judiciary Criminal Practice and Procedure Committee, would allow the state's 270,000 handgun carry permit holders to go armed into any establishment selling alcohol in Tennessee unless the businesses post signs at every entrance banning weapons.

The legislature adopted a similar law last year and easily overrode a veto by Gov. Phil Bredesen. It allowed guns in places selling food and alcohol. But Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman struck it down as unconstitutionally vague, saying it was too hard to tell whether an establishment served enough food to qualify under the law for gun holders to enter.

“The bill last year allowed carrying in places that serve food and alcohol. This bill allows carrying of weapons in every restaurant, every bar, every roadhouse in the state. It’s a lot larger bill than what you passed last year,” said Dan Haskell, the Hospitality Association’s general counsel. “This bill would require posting at every door, and in the hospitality industry, the last thing we want to have to do is post notices about guns at the door. It doesn’t seem hospitable to us.”

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said: “This bill is very clear. They aren't going to be happy with any bill."

24 Comments on this post:

By: Kosh III on 3/10/10 at 2:48

What's the bill number?

By: Cookie47 on 3/10/10 at 4:02


By: Cookie47 on 3/10/10 at 4:02

Hey, Kosh the bill number is HB3125.


By: Cookie47 on 3/10/10 at 5:01

"This bill would require posting at every door, and in the hospitality industry, the last thing we want to have to do is post notices about guns at the door. It doesn’t seem hospitable to us."

- Dan Haskell, the Hospitality Association’s general counsel

Mr. Haskell,

Just so you know, if there's a sign banning guns on the door, this HCP holder won't be spending any money there and I'm not the only one that feels this way.

Lets do the math. There's presently 268,711 HCP holders in Tennessee (Commercial Appeal, Liberal Rag in Memphis, TN, Feb. 21, 2010) who'll spend on average of $35 to take their family out to dinner. That's approximately $9.4 million for just one meal. Since you're the general counsel for the hospitality association, which one of the restaurants your organization represents would like that kind cash coming in for just one meal?

You say putting signs up banning guns isn't hospitable. What's hospitable about wanting to ban a group of law-abiding Tennesseans from patronizing your membership restaurants? It's simple. If there's a "No Guns" sign on the door, I'll be happy to spend my money elsewhere.


By: typicalsutherner on 3/10/10 at 6:02

Well cookie, it looks like you'll be able to eat at Starbucks, since they'll be the only place that allow it. The rest of us will enjoy dinner without the guns. Really sad you can't make it through dinner without your weapon.

By: thecatlady on 3/10/10 at 6:36

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said: “This bill is very clear. They aren't going to be happy with any bill."

Then why do they insist on ramming it down our throats? I will not dine in any establishment that allows handguns on the premises. Several of the posters on this issue continue to push the "law-abiding" citizen part of the equation; however, I will never understand why "packing heat" makes anyone feel like more of a man/woman/whatever.

By: xhexx on 3/10/10 at 7:11

typicalsutherner, catlady, you're both either very unobservant or just idiots. When the last carry law was in effect last year, very few restaurants posted. The great majority of places that said they were going to post in the run up to the law taking effect, never did. I only encountered three restaurants that had "no guns" signs, only one of them properly worded. And one of those 3 had the sign down within a week. I guess they figured out who their customers were?

In the 4 months it was in effect before being struck down for vagueness, there wasn't one single incident involving an HCP holder. Had there been, the local media would have been all over it. So what are you bedwetters so nervous about?

By: revo-lou on 3/10/10 at 9:31

Dear xhexx,
First, four months is hardly an adequate time frame to determine if “guns while eating” was going to be a problem or not. It was also not enough time to tell whether or not it was a success.
Second, it is doubtful that you ate at every restaurant in this town to know how many did or did not have signs posted.
Third, this bill, when past (we know that we can count on this legislative body to continue to govern with its collective head up its arse), will be challenged and struck down as well.
Fourth, if you need a gun that bad when you are eating, you need to either pick better establishments to eat at, or, stop trying to steal everybody else’s food.

By: Cookie47 on 3/10/10 at 10:57


Well, once again, you're wrong but I have a feeling you're use to that. You'd be surprised where HCP holders are allowed while armed. But since us carrying LEGALLY seems to bother you so much, here's something for you to think about. While you're sitting all comfy in a booth at your favorite, no-guns-allowed restaurant, look around. See if you can pick the man or woman that couldn't care less about the law much less that "No Guns" sign stuck to the door.

What's really sad is people going through life oblivious to the dangers around them. These people are just the potential targets Nashville's thugs and criminals are looking for. Are you one of those people? Unfortunately, you probably are. I sincerely hope you and others like you don't become a victim of your own naivety.

A lot of HCP holders got their permits because of something that happened in their lives that made them realize their personal protection was their own responsibility. It was in my case. I hope you and your kind don't have to realize it the hard way. Good luck. You're going to need it.


By: dargent7 on 3/11/10 at 5:41

While the State is spending $700. million on a new dtw convention center, these "bills" will increase traffic? Besides John Deere, Tea Baggers (who will become extinct in 2012), Skoal tobacco, and the NRA, what group will choose Nashville as a destination?
And this b.s., "We gun carriers cannot touch a drop of alcohol". Why frequent a bar?
And, you didn't have a "couple of beers" earlier in the day? People cannot drink, then drive, yet 80% of all crashes are booze related. The permit holders protray themselves to be several notches above priests and Einsteins. What a joke!

By: njmccune on 3/11/10 at 7:52

Well, I think we should hurry up and pass this bill so that we can drive all the tourist traffic away and then we can sit and denigrate Karl Dean, contemplate our navels and let the entire world know what a bunch of knucle draggers we are in Tennessee...

By: njmccune on 3/11/10 at 7:56

BTW, you, Cookie47 are typical of the Tennessee knuckle dragger of whom I speak!!

The majority of Tennesseans do not want this bill, but the legislators could care less about the desires of the electorate... they are in bed with the gun lobby and always have been.

By: Cookie47 on 3/11/10 at 8:24


What makes you think HCP laws and law-abiding permit holders carrying their weapons are driving away tourists? If you're basing your comments on things said by people like Randy Rayburn or Dan Haskell, you need to get more informed. These men are grasping a straws to explain bad bottom line numbers and gun laws and permit holders are just easy targets. Could the bad numbers be due to, oh, lets see.....the economy?

Have you or any other poster here thought that it may be the daily reports of some thug shooting another thug or some innocent bystander running off the tourists? Stop acting like a liberal elitist and use some common sense. HCP laws and permit holders aren't the problem.

Also, since you brought it up, I know of no one but you sitting around contemplating their navels. Dude/Dudette, get a hobby! I know, maybe you can buy a gun and join us knuckle-draggers at the shooting range. That is once you pick the lint from your navel.


By: xhexx on 3/11/10 at 8:34

What most of you morons don't get it that this bill isn't crafted the way it is because we want to go to BARS with our guns. We want to be able to enjoy a meal in a decent restaurant without having to disarm and leave our gun in the car where it can be stolen. Or have to walk blocks through downtown to a dark and dangerous parking garage. That bars are included in the bill are two fold. First there are no BARS in TN. Technically they are restaurants and the the last law tried to address that. It provided a clear and concise definition of the establishments we could carry in. Additionally, the owners of restaurants could post a sign if they didn't want our business. A liberal judge thought the definition of a restaurant used in the law was vague and struck down the law. This new bill directly addresses her concerns and removes all ambiguity or "vagueness".

For those that were against the old bill and are now crying in their beer that this bill makes carry legal in even more establishments, well it 's just the law of unintended consequences at work. You should have just let good enough alone.

By: madden on 3/11/10 at 8:43

Wow!!!!Four months without an incident. Lets go ahead and allow guns, in schools, college campuses, frat parties, Titans/TSU/ Vandy games, churches, the bowling alley, pool halls, the mall,libraries, hospitals, the Courthouse, and visitation rooms at prisons. Just one question,"Why in the hell would someone need to bring a gun to a child's birthday party at Chuckie Cheese?"

By: Cookie47 on 3/11/10 at 8:55


Why the hell would someone go to Chucky Cheese?!? That's the question!!!!

By: xhexx on 3/11/10 at 9:47

Here's why Madden...

or this...

Need I go on?

By: xhexx on 3/11/10 at 9:49

What the hell, here's another...

By: pswindle on 3/11/10 at 10:28

Sit back and let the gun show start.

By: gdiafante on 3/11/10 at 11:37

It's good to know during a recession, budget crisis and double digit unemployment that legislators are working hard trying to solve these problems.

Oh wait...

By: ucan on 3/11/10 at 2:40

I would like for once that people would stop blowing things out of proportion. NO ONE is wanting to bring a gun into a bar, just to be able to keep it on them when they choose to dine out. Second, the anti-gun people need to spend a little more energy trying to pass legislation that would increase prison time for those CRIMINALS that use weapons in committing crimes. It is not law-abiding citizens you need to worry about.
By the way, do any of you anti-gun people ever recognize when a citizen uses their HCP to protect themselves or family. That's right....that does not create a media frenzy.

By: slzy on 3/11/10 at 4:01

i don't understand why gun owners would want to spend a dime in any place that serves alcohol.

for instance,McWherter owns the biggest beer distributorship in the state,bob rochelle was the liquor lobbys pointman in the state senate,the tennessean cannot fathom doing anything without a drink,and the former editor hanging on as a wine "expert".

you can't serve two masters.

why enrich your enemies?

By: GUARDIAN on 3/11/10 at 8:56

I think that the U.S.Supreme Court would not allow any business open to the public to deny anyone's second amendments if they had a carry permit. Keep fighting this new state government law and watch the doors swing open everywhere by order of the U.S. Supreme Count. There are those waiting and willing to be charged for eating dinner while not drinking with their firearm on their person. Washington D.C. found out and Chicago will find out soon. You monkeys need to swing back up in the trees and eat a banana and shut up.

By: free thinker on 3/31/10 at 6:47

Stupid Legislature: trying to gain votes, again! The legislature also needs to absorb all liability placed upon business for their actions. Having to take a life is not a paper target and hitting a 2 and 1/2 inch cluster.