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.”