Tygard to withdraw Council guns-in-restaurants bill

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 5:52pm

A group of Metro Council members hoping Nashville could take advantage of a loophole and ban guns from bars and restaurants got the news late last week their proposed ordinance was on shaky legal footing.

At-large Councilman Charlie Tygard said he would make a motion to withdraw the bill at the June 16 Metro Council meeting. Tygard’s decision came after the Metro legal department told him the ordinance was pre-empted by a 1986 state law that took away the right of local governments to outlaw firearms.

Tygard, along with Council members Megan Barry, Jerry Maynard and Carter Todd, filed the legislation last week. The proposed ordinance would have outlawed firearms from bars and restaurants, by making it a condition of a Metro beer permit.

But, according to Tygard, Metro Legal said Council could not take action that limited guns. The state legislature passed a law, initially vetoed by Gov. Phil Bredesen, that allows guns in bars and restaurants, provided the patron has a carry permit and isn’t consuming alcoholic beverages.

“I was willing to let the public debate and the panel discussions and citizen input to come in to see what the restaurants and citizens had to say about it,” Tygard said. “Without the legal grounds to do so that doesn’t make much sense.”

The ruling by Metro Legal also jeopardized another bill, which would have banned guns from Metro parks.

The 1986 state law said, unless local governments already had a law on the books, they could not ban firearms. Metro had a loosely written law forbidding firearms in the urban services district, but the law did not apply to those legally allowed to carry.

Tygard pointed out restaurants could still ban firearms from their establishments, although enforcing a posted sign would be difficult he conceded.

In the meantime, Mayor Karl Dean remained in opposition to guns in bars and restaurant and said his office was not yet finished with the issue.

“Allowing guns in our restaurants and bars is simply a bad idea,” Dean said. “I fully support the governor’s veto. My office is looking into a way to address this in Nashville.”

Had the proposed ordinance gotten the green light from Metro Legal, it seemed to have support on Council. Earlier this year, Council passed a memorializing resolution opposing the state legislature’s efforts to allow firearms in parks. That resolution passed with a 27-13 vote.

There was no word Monday on the status of the guns in parks legislation.

8 Comments on this post:

By: gdiafante on 6/9/09 at 11:19

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But hey, it's Tennessee, did we expect anything less?

By: TheKryptonian on 6/9/09 at 12:13

What's stupid about protecting our Constitutional freedoms? A disarmed people is an oppressed people. Hitler would be the first one to raise his hand in favor of gun control.
You want to take away the right of responsibly armed Americans to carry guns defensively in any establishment? Might as well post a sign outside that reads:

"Attention Criminals! This is a defense-free crime zone.
All law-abiding patrons of this establishment have been disarmed for your convenience"

Criminals don't follow the law.

By: realistic on 6/9/09 at 1:29

"...allows guns in bars and restaurants, provided the patron has a carry permit and isn’t consuming alcoholic beverages."

That just lacks some common sense.

One of two things will happen as a result of this.
1. Innocent lives will be saved due to a good law-abiding samaritan that plays hero and uses their gun to neutralize some criminal in a public place; or
2. More people will be hurt and more places held up because guns are allowed in bars and restaurants.

My guess is #2. Criminals aren't criminals until they break the law the first time. So how many law abiding citizens that 'snap' have to legally walk into a place carrying a gun and illegally go postal on a place before we realize this isn't a good idea. The right to bear arms amendment was written into the constitution as a way to protect civilians from militia armies. I haven't seen a lot of militia armies in battered n fried lately.

By: Dawntreader on 6/9/09 at 1:53

A local bar/restaurant was robbed by two or three men with guns last year in my neighborhood. The robbers took everyone's wallets and all the money from the register. Thank God, no one was hurt. I take it that Superman over there would have taken it upon himself to draw his gun and start a shoot-out inside a crowded restaurant. I can tell by the way he writes that I do not trust his judgement.

By: TheKryptonian on 6/10/09 at 11:18

Chances are, I and other responsibly armed patrons wouldn't have to use our weapons. Do your homework - statistically, the mere brandishing of a firearm in defense is usually (last stat I saw from JPFO said 1 in 5 instances) enough to deter armed crime.

You don't think anyone without a gun could "snap" and kill people with a broken beer bottle?

This issue is NOT about logic, however; it's chiefly about defending our Rights - those that our founding fathers believed in.

By: TheKryptonian on 6/10/09 at 12:13

Just for bonus points:
"One area that always surfaces when a state attempts to implement a self-defense law, is the number of innocent people who might be harmed by legally armed citizens. Has the ten year history in Tennessee shown this area to be like what was warned or, has it shown a different history?

There are no incidents that can be found where in a defensive incident a Tennessee Handgun Permit Holder shot or wounded in some manner, any innocent person."

By: Dawntreader on 6/10/09 at 2:42

I'm not sure that I trust your statistics, Sup, if you think that one 1 in 5 instances means "usually."

If you had pulled a gun I am betting that a shoot-out would have occured. I'd think the robbers would be shooting at you and the people at your table, but I worry also about stray bullets.

By: TheKryptonian on 6/10/09 at 3:28

Good call; that was 4 in 5. Typo.

Interesting speculation, but that's just not what the research shows. Read the info in the link. Armed defense usually prevents crime.