Opposition ramps up as guns-in-bars bill moves forward

Monday, April 12, 2010 at 11:45pm

Two of Nashville’s most vocal groups opposing a so-called “guns-in-bars” bill are speaking up again as another version of the bill moves forward in the General Assembly.

Restaurateur Randy Rayburn, who spearheaded attempts to thwart last year’s guns-in-bars bill, released a statement Monday saying, “This law is harmful to our business, customers, employees and tourism in general. The other cities have used our ‘Wild West’ legislation against us to help convince convention groups not to visit Tennessee according to our Convention and Visitors Bureau.”

The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce last week reiterated its stance on guns in bars.

“We support Second Amendment rights, but we feel this legislation sends the wrong message to our citizens and our visitors about who we are and what we value as a state and as communities,” Debby Dale Mason wrote in a statement.

Mason is the chief community action officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Any legislation that allows the mixing of guns and alcohol hampers our ability to market our state and city as business and family relocation destinations and can deeply affect those who already call Tennessee home,” Mason said.

Last year’s bill would have allowed gun permit holders to carry guns in restaurants where food is the main source of business. Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman deemed the bill unconstitutional, ruling that its vagueness made determining a restaurant’s main source of business too difficult.

A new version of the bill, expected to go before the state House Ways and Means committee on Tuesday, would overcome any vagueness by allowing permitted gun users to carry in any venue.

In the past, Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas as said that alcohol and guns don’t mix.

“Chief Serpas’ position on guns in bars has not change. He continues to believe the concept is not conducive to public safety and is not good public policy.”

“He just disagrees with the concept and has not changed his posture since this type of legislation was first introduced a year ago,”

Restaurants and bars can opt out by posting signs telling customers that guns aren’t permitted inside.

30 Comments on this post:

By: RightProtector on 4/13/10 at 6:12

Rayburn says, via a requote of the "Convention and Visitors Bureau" that "other cities have used our 'Wild West' legislation against us...". Neither he, nor the Bureau has released copies of ANY official statements from ANY other cities to this effect. Where is the proof? It's rhetoric.
Also, if following the current law, only sober people could be carrying those guns anyway. I assure you that the (unarmed) drunks in these bars will be thinking twice about acting a fool with the possibility of so many (trained and certified) conscientious citizens around. In fact, even the "Wild West" was tamed by the sober, gun-toting citizenry, and NOT by any legislature or legislation. And, these "gun-toters" didn't even have to be trained, certified, and licensed to carry their firearms! Our permit holders in the State of Tennessee have all of this and more.
And, with our strong (ha!ha!) private property laws, ANY bar owner can "opt out" and post a notice that no one can carry a firearm. This is already in the current law and pretty much ends the argument for Rayburn, et al. So, I guess that Rayburn is actually saying that the individual business owner is just too ignorant to know what is best for his own establishment. Wait, how many bars does Rayburn own and how many years has he been in the business? Oh, yeah...zero and none. Thank you, Mr. Politician. Can you please tell me how to raise my kids, how tall my grass can grow, and just exactly how far off the sidewalk that I must place my fence?
Add Randy Rayburn to the list of "politicos" who are still wasting tax payer dollars to further their OWN desires. It is clear that Tennesseans are behind this law. We also need to be behind removing people like Randy Rayburn, Tim Burchett, and others from office...ANY and ALL offices. The people of Knoxville will be, pardon the pun, shooting themselves in the foot, if they elect Tim Burchett their mayor.

By: govskeptic on 4/13/10 at 6:33

Well said Protector: We are always getting this type stuff as
fact in Tenn stories. It's sad the Chamber has to use these
made up stuff to support their positions. Tourism used same
junk info on cancelled conventions to get support for their new
facility. Unfortunately a great deal of the public buys this junk
as truth. Honesty in government and their associates is getting
worse all the time.

By: xhexx on 4/13/10 at 6:56

Just more lies and cowardice from Rayburn and his Ilk. They keep rollling out this tourism angle, but have never backed up their assertions with examples. Considering over 36 states already have similar legislation, I don't see it as bring an issue. And if a bunch of anti-gun zealots don't want to relocate here... Good.
Rayburn shows his cowardice by his unwillingness to just post his restaurants as the law allows because he's afraid ome gun supporters won't spend money there. Well, screw him, we know who he is and what he represents.

By: franklinsfire001 on 4/13/10 at 7:05

Look, if a drunk can wrestle a gun away from a police officer, which happens too often, there is no reason that they could not do it with some local guy who isn't trained daily and weekly on how to handle suspects of crimes. You will just be asking for trouble having guns inside of bars. That is what security is for. Its not even a issue of constitution. Or just man up and protect yourself with your hands. Shouldn't be hard if you are not drunk.

By: Kosh III on 4/13/10 at 7:05

"Thank you, Mr. Politician. Can you please tell me how to raise my kids, how tall my grass can grow, and just exactly how far off the sidewalk that I must place my fence?"
Why not? Hypocrites like you voted to approve telling gay citizens who they can and cannot marry---a serious and evil violation of the right to liberty and pursuit of happiness. Guess the only rights worth protecting are yours?

By: BF Skinner on 4/13/10 at 8:12

There has always been guns in bars and many of them are in women's purses. Permits or no permits. Violence in alcoholic establishments usually happens after midnight. 11pm is the limit for a permit holder and why a concealed weapons permit holder would want to hang out with a bunch of idiot drunks is just mind staggering on it's own.

By: vechester on 4/13/10 at 8:17

Kosh you seem to be selective on what rights are valid and what can be violated.

For instance, I should have the right to buy or not buy health insurance from anyone whom I choose, but you support the Obamacare plan that will place limits on this and eventually result in a single payer plan (government).

You probably support a woman's "right to choose" in the killing of her unborn child, but not in the school system she can send her child to.

You probably like the "Cap and Trade" bill which allows the Feds to control what appliances I equip my house with, and in fact will require I re-equip it with new ones before I can sell it.

You no doubt enjoy the freedoms provided by the 1st amendment by the untrue rhetoric you just posted. (I don't care how tall you grass grows...)

And yet something as basic as the 2nd amendment which allows the right of any citizen to protect themselves and their families, you want to limit and control. Just like my first amendment rights don't end at the door of a restaurant or the entrance to a park, neither do any of the other Bill of Rights - especially the Second Amendment!

By: NewsReader01 on 4/13/10 at 8:26

These drunks who "wrestle" guns away from police are the same people who obtain guns illegally and will carry them illegally. Making a law that states people cannot carry in "bars" just because of drunk people is dumb. The people who act stupid and get in trouble drinking in public places are the people who don't care about laws and will bring weapons in them illegally anyway. People who take the time to obtain a carry license are usually almost always very responsible with their weapons. It requires a lot of responsibility to carry and people who do, don't take it lightly. I don't understand why everyone thinks that because someone carries, they want to shoot everyone they possibly can. Shooting/killing someone is not something to take as a joke. All these liberals think that's all it is. Shooting someone is just a joke and not a big deal if you carry a gun for your personal and your families protection.

By: stlgtr55@yahoo.com on 4/13/10 at 9:03

Mr. Rayburn needs to just put a sign on his front door prohibiting firearms in his establishment, and be done with it. He and so many people like him, choose the cowardly way out by involving the government to pass laws for everyone, including those who don't agree with him.

By: Cookie47 on 4/13/10 at 9:10


While Randy Rayburn is as slimy as the worst politician, he isn't one to my knowledge. He is, however, a restaurant owner in Nashville, owning three or four places in the Hillsboro Village area.

I, too, would like to see the statements of other states referring to Tennessee as "wild west".

I can't for the life of me understand why people are fighting law-abiding HCP holding citizens being able to carry anywhere. If they used this much energy against the low sentences given to criminals, the judges would have no choice but to be a hell of a lot tougher.


By: PromosFriend on 4/13/10 at 9:52

Ah, the old "Wild West" argument. That tired old bit of flotsam has been used by the anti's for decades. And in each and every state or community where that irrational argument has been posed there has never been a single time that it has proven correct. The 250,000 plus law-abiding citizens who legally carry a concealed firearm in this state commit less than one tenth of one percent of the gun related crimes here, a figure far lower than any other group. Allowing permit holders to carry in restaurants where alcohol is served will do nothing to increase gun crimes in those venues, and could possibly reduce crime, especially in the parking lots of those businesses.


By: Kosh III on 4/13/10 at 9:58


You make quite a few assumptions(not all correct) about me despite the lack of any evidence.
All I said was that it is hypocritical to demand absolute freedom in gun ownership while at the same time demanding that the coercive power of the state be used to limit the liberty of other citizens based on nothing more than opinion.
Kinda like the hypocrisy of opposing abortion but supporting state-approved murder(capital punishment) and btw I oppose both: all life is precious.

I never even said how I felt about the guns issue. Try reading again what I said

By: AmyLiorate on 4/13/10 at 10:02

Why are so many people opposed to women being able to keep a pistol in their purse while they go eat lunch at Demos' or some trendy Burrito joint?

If the owner doesn't have a problem with it then why does anyone else care!

There are roughly 65,000 women in TN who have taken a class, passed a back ground check, been finger printed and proven to be proficient on the range. And you don't trust them?

Why do these people want so many women to be defenseless more often?

By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 10:23

... following the current law, only sober people will drive. Oh wait...!

And Amy, you ever hear of the loaded soccer mom? The one who first scared all the other parents by bringing a glock to children's soccer games? And then shot her husband and herself? The former was a good predictor of the latter.

By: Cookie47 on 4/13/10 at 10:38


Was the soccer mom a HCP holder? Was she drunk? Just asking since this article is about HCP holders being able to to carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol.


By: AmyLiorate on 4/13/10 at 10:45

Yes, please do tell us Wicked one, what were the circumstances of the soccer mom?

Did she have a permit? Maybe she had the gun to protect herself from an abusive husband? Did she go "wild west" and shoot up the whole place?

Would you have felt safer if you were there knowing that your own weapon was close at hand? Or you'd prefer to wait for the police to show up after the clip was emptied?

You would take away the ability for hundreds of thousands of honest people to protect themselves because of the actions of a very small number? Thanks, but I'll pass on your logic.

More police officers get in trouble with guns than do HCP owners. Please look up some statistics and not some one off horror story of the year.

By: localboy on 4/13/10 at 11:37

And people worry that if the Preds leave it will give the city a black eye. Please.

By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 11:41

You're seriously unfamiliar with this story? Obviously she had a HCP or she would have been arrested for packing heat at the soccer games.


By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 11:46

The one off horror stories, as you so eloquently call them, is why tourists and general customers of establishments don't like hanging around nuts packing heat. Not to mention that it provokes criminals into further violence. Do you know many criminals who have been shot by police OR armed vigilantes were actually unarmed? Either with no weapon, a fake weapon, or an unloaded weapon? That's because generally criminals just want to scare you into handing over your money vthey don't actually want to harm you. But if vigilantes keep shooting when held up, then the criminals are going to start coming armed and loaded, and shoot you in the back instead if scaring you and asking nicely for your money. It's a battle you cannot win. You can only increase the dedperation and violence of the criminals.

By: Cookie47 on 4/13/10 at 12:05


Your link didn't work but I remember some mention of the story some time ago.

There's nothing obvious at all, Wicked. What state was she in? If the game was in TN, was it in a park or on a school field? Had the county and/or town opted out of the guns in parks law?

If it was a field on school property, she wouldn't be allowed to carry there with or without a HCP in TN. It's not allowed by law. She would have been arrested in TN. Mitigating circumstances may have been unless possibly she was acting in self defense and the husband showed up after she did and started something. Obviously you don't have a HCP or you would know this - part of the training.

I'm not trying to argue but your facts seem to have some holes I'm trying to fill. I would like to more about this particular situation so do you have a good link?


By: WickedTribe on 4/13/10 at 12:47

I don't know what happened with that link, sorry. This one works.


By: JeffF on 4/13/10 at 1:13

I like how everyone thinks 100% of all tourists are anti-2nd amendment. This is just Rayburn being too much of a sniveling coward to allow mouth-breathing gun owners with money to find out what he really thinks about them. He really wants the government to suppress constitutional freedoms so he does not have to.

I am going to guess that Rayburn would suddenly shut up about all this if the NRA was to start looking at Nashville for their annual convention. Weasel.

By: NewsReader01 on 4/13/10 at 1:14

Yes Wicked, Do not defend yourself. Give all of your belongings to people who don't deserve them. Give into their fear and pee yourself. That's your choice. Sorry to tell you this, but not everyone are little B*tches. I would rather be hurt/killed defending myself than letting someone take advantage of and take my things that I worked hard for. Go ahead and be afraid, but don't lecture other people on their own lives. Un-arming law abiding citizens does nothing but increase risk/crime. If there is absolutely no chance the store clerk has a gun, than why would anyone hesitate to rob it? Criminals will always have guns no matter how illegal they are. A woman who had a gun shot herself and her husband...ok? some people are psychotic. If she wanted to and didn't have a gun she could of used a kitchen knife. People kill people. It's just a "big deal" when a gun is used so all the anti-gun people can exaggerate things and make it seem way worse than things actually are. I see no anti-knife groups... Knives kill people too.

By: NewsReader01 on 4/13/10 at 1:26

I just read a follow up on the "soccer mom" story. She was murdered by her husband with his service pistol. Her carry permit/gun had nothing to do with the deaths. Her husband (a police officer) shot her and himself with his service pistol. How does this story have ANYTHING to do with carry laws? Please explain how a soccer mom with a carry license caused her and her husbands death.

By: StumpyBeagle on 4/13/10 at 1:32

Quote by Wicked Tribe
"Do you know many criminals who have been shot by police OR armed vigilantes were actually unarmed? Either with no weapon, a fake weapon, or an unloaded weapon? That's because generally criminals just want to scare you into handing over your money they don't actually want to harm you."

That's the most naive thing I have ever heard... How old are you eleven??? So all these murders, rapes, and robberies are carried out by people that have either unloaded or toy guns??? My friend you need to go back to the farm and milk the cows, you do not belong here in the big city... Wait I was raised on a farm and we always had a weapon with in reaching distance so I'm not sure where you need do be, maybe in dreamland.


By: Cookie47 on 4/13/10 at 1:37

Okay, separated marriage and they were killed in their home, possible murder-suicide. It took place in Lebanon, PENNSYLVANIA, not Tennessee, so it really doesn't relate to this at all.

This story is about TN HCP holders being allowed to legally carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. These people, including myself, are law-abiding people. We're not LEOs nor heros and we don't want to be. We're also not billy-badass gunslingers or cowboys. We're simply people who want the added protection of carrying a gun LEGALLY. This is usually due to something that happened to make us feel we needed to. That was my case.

It's simple. I carry to protect my family and myself and, when seconds count, a LEO is just minutes away. Besides, a cop is too heavy to carry.


By: StumpyBeagle on 4/13/10 at 1:44

It's not hard to see where James Nix or the City Paper stand on this issue. It's so refreshing to see a balanced non-biased article.


By: NewsReader01 on 4/13/10 at 1:48

If a criminal is pointing a unloaded or fake gun at me to scare me. Sucks for him. His intent was to assault me with a potentially deadly weapon. ALWAYS assume a gun is LOADED. I'd rather shoot a criminal than let him go with my things so he can just go do it again to other people also.

assault is assault period. doesn't matter if its unloaded.

Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

By: freddy on 4/13/10 at 3:23


Well, registered voters in Tennessee oppose the bill (67%) so let's assume the politicians will represent their districts accordingly and reject it. Over and out.

By: Cookie47 on 4/13/10 at 3:33

I hope it passes. And, when it does, yes, I'll be carrying in every restaurant unless there's a sign on the door. If there's a sign on the door, I'll go else where. I'll let all the anti-gunners eat in the gun-free zones where the only ones that have the guns will be the bad guys/gals.

I personally would rather eat in a restaurant that serves alcohol with 100 law-abiding, legal HCP holders than in one with just one person that is a thug wannabe.