Sen. Jackson: Local governments can’t regulate firearms

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 4:30am

One day after Metro Council members filed legislation to circumvent state law and outlaw firearms where beer is served, state Sen. Doug Jackson said Tennessee code prevents local governments from regulating firearms.

At-large Councilmembers Megan Barry and Charlie Tygard filed legislation Thursday aimed at outlawing guns in Davidson County bars and restaurants. The legislation would use the beer board as a tool to make outlawing firearms a condition of a permit.

But in a press release sent Friday, Jackson said Tennessee code specifically puts regulation of firearms outside the purview of local government.

Quoting from Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1314(a): "No city, county, or metropolitan government shall occupy any part of the field of regulation of the transfer, ownership, possession, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or combination thereof ..."

Jackson (D-Dickson) said the recently passed law allowing guns in restaurants and bars already gives business owners the right to post signs outlawing them.

"There is no need to remove options from restaurant owners or interfere with the rights of law-abiding citizens by revoking beer permits and punishing restaurants,” Jackson said.

Barry said the point of the Council legislation is to outlaw guns in bars and restaurants without establishment owners being forced to post signs.

“The last thing we want to do is bring someone in from out of town and every place you go, you see ‘No guns, no guns, no guns,’” Barry said. “I would prefer to not have to see our restaurant folks spending lots of money buying signs. Beer and guns don’t mix.”

21 Comments on this post:

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 5:51

Thank you, Senator Jackson.

If a restaurant has a "No Guns" sign in their window, they won't get my business.


By: pandabear on 6/8/09 at 6:49

Ditto on that.

Thank you Senator.

By: saturn89 on 6/8/09 at 7:08

If I find a restaurant with "No Guns" sign I will tell the manager why I will not spend my money there.

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 7:13

Just keep in mind it my not his/her decision. It may be a corporate decision they have no choice but to follow.


By: HenryB on 6/8/09 at 7:15

Will someone please explain to me why Jackson doesn't think a local ordinance would override a state law on guns (the restaurant/bar law), but in the legislation allowing guns in parks, lawmakers say that it's OK for local jurisdictions to opt out. Why the double standard?

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 7:27

Quoting from Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1314(a): "No city, county, or metropolitan government shall occupy any part of the field of regulation of the transfer, ownership, possession, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or combination thereof ..."

Apparently the Metro Council doesn't have the authority. I have no idea if this would apply to parks as well. Possibly does.


By: Terrier on 6/8/09 at 7:34

I don't quite understand why there has been so much fuss over this. We're talking about handgun carry permit holders. Read that to say, "Law-abiding citizens that have had a background check and haven't broken any laws, or they wouldn't have a handgun carry permit." The new law states specifically that it's against the law to drink while carrying your weapon in these establishments.

Seems to me it's about time "law-abiding" citizens are given the chance to be "law-abiding", while at the same time being afforded the opportunity to defend themselves against the lawless.

By: HenryB on 6/8/09 at 7:39

Thanks, Cookie. But that doesn't explain the championing of TCA 39-17-1314(a) for one piece of legislation and tossing it out the window for another. Makes no sense.

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 8:10


I think TCA 39-17-1314(a) is in the Metro Beer License rules so it's being used as a way to keep Metro from doing this.

I have a HCP and don't understand all the complaints over a law-abiding permit holder being able to carry in a restaurant or a state or federal park. Local parks are probably not a place I would carry after thinking about it.

With all you have to go through to get a HCP, I'd rather eat in a restaurant full of HCP holders than a "Gun-Free" zone where they're not allowed and the criminals know it.


By: localboy on 6/8/09 at 9:30

Post the signs, get my business...
I don't think most are that worried about permit holders; it should be part of the law that the weapon is in plain view, though.
I'm not worried about the handguns in the restaurants so much as to why you are that scared - if you have been the victim of crime or live or work in a hazardous area, that's understandable - however, most permit holders I know have neither reason.
Besides, since this is a new law - you've been eating in restaurants that aren't full of HCP holders for years - were your hands shaking?

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 9:50

Since Tennessee's permit holders are NOT required by law to conceal their guns, I wouldn't have a problem wearing mine out in the open except that when I took my training class it was strongly suggested I SHOULD conceal it. Also, I've been told by several LE officers they encourage concealment. It is a good idea to do so. Besides, it keeps down the whining of the anti-gun people.

As for eating in the same restaurants for years, I've been removing my gun for years to go into these same restaurants and leaving it in my car because it was the law. I would rather have it on me than in my car in the parking lot. Now I won't have to remove it anymore. If a restaurant has a no gun sign, I'll go else where. The anti-gun people can eat in the "no gun" zone.


By: jsnap on 6/8/09 at 9:56

I cannot believe that you people are so afraid to eat without packing a gun. If I was that scared I would stay at home.Will bars frisk everyone who orders a drink.? Just curious.

By: Yarddog on 6/8/09 at 10:03

They can regulate guns but what if the local ordinance says no beer where firearms are allowed. A bar could allow guns, they just couldn't serve beer. Each owner has the right to prohibit firearms. What are you doing in a bar if you have a firearm, you can't consume alcohol while you 're carrying. This is just another cluster frig that this idiotic legislature pieced together for their handlers at the NRA. Dog Out

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 10:15


It's not that we're afraid of anything. Some may have a very good reason to be afraid but for others it's just a right and a responsibility to protect ourselves and our families. The police can't be everywhere all the time and I for one do not want to become a statistic just to make anti-gun people happy.


This is not a "Guns in Bars" law as the panty-waste, liberal media have labeled it. It is a law allowing law-abiding, handgun carry permit holders to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol but they can not drink when carrying.


By: Dawntreader on 6/8/09 at 11:42

The Family Wash restaurant was robbed at gunpoint by two or three men last
year. They took everyone's money, but no one was hurt. If there was an armed permit holder there, would there have been a shootout inside a crowded restaurant.? Would an experienced police officer have chosen to draw his gun
if he were in that restaurant?

I agree about the signs in Davidson County. If I were a tourist, I'd think signs about guns meant that I was going into an establishment that was prone to violence.

By: sidneyames on 6/8/09 at 1:51

I cannot believe that you people are so afraid to eat without packing a gun. If I was that scared I would stay at home.Will bars frisk everyone who orders a drink.? Just curious.

If you read the paper or watch the news, you'll see people being shot daily, in their homes; restaurants; streets and other places. And the people doing the shooting are not registered hand gun owners. They are criminals. So there is a reason to want to "pack a gun". It's called self-defense.

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 2:29

THANK YOU, SYDNEYAMES!!!!!!!! Well said!!!


By: TN4th on 6/8/09 at 2:29

It would be terrible for tourism if there are signs all over the place saying "No Guns." It raises so many doubts about how safe Nashville is that patrons have to be reminded not to pack guns like a bunch of hillbilly outlaws.

Personally, I am not eating or drinking in places where people are packin'. Waayyy too risky.

Maybe the ordinance could also require that establishments that allow firearms should so state in a sign at the door. That would at least warn unsuspecting out-of-towners that they are at risk from the vigilante elements.

By: Cookie47 on 6/8/09 at 3:02

Vigilante elements? How about a sign that reads:

Attention ALL Thugs, Criminals, Rapists, Murderers, and Drug Dealers:
This is a GUN FREE ZONE!!!
You're welcome to come on in and rob all of the liberal-minded progressives dining within without fear. We're all afraid of guns and we do not like them or people that carry them!!!
We will not blame you for your actions. We know your feelings were hurt when you were told NO one too many times as a kid and we wish to make up for that by giving you all our hard-earned money and valuables. We are a equal-opportunity, target-rich environment restaurant.


By: sidneyames on 6/8/09 at 5:28

Hey Cookie47, you are so right on. Our judicial system is so intimidated by the ACLU's law suits that we have to tippie toe around our courts. I realize that it is risky to have ordinary citizens carrying protection, but then again, it's risky not to carry. And TN4th, I bet those out of towners live in the real world and in their neighborhoods back home they also want protection. Didn't you read about that young country music guy who was in town less than a day, pulled up with his mom to a stop sign, was asked for money and shot in the face for $10. Wish his Mom would have had a hand gun to blow the shooter away. It was a senseless killing for $10. And there are lots of those that go down. Maybe if criminals heard about a few of their own getting blown away, they would think twice before trying to rob and maime people.

By: MetalMan on 6/9/09 at 12:46

I agree with others who have posted here - thanks Senator Jackson. Establishments will learn to fully understand the will of the people, just like our legislators eventually will.

And for me until they do: No guns, No business.