Senate passes new version of state guns in bars bill
Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 8:03 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — Permit holders could once again bring their handguns into establishments that serve alcohol under a bill passed by the Senate on Thursday.
The Senate voted 23-9 to approve the measure sponsored by Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson of Dickson. All votes against the bill came from Democrats.
The bill would maintain an existing prohibition on drinking alcohol while carrying a gun. Violators would face a three-year suspension of their permit.
The Senate bill does not include a provision in the House version that would effectively exclude bars from the measure by requiring establishments to ban guns when they make less than 50 percent of their revenue from food.
A House vote is scheduled for Wednesday.
Both versions would continue to allow any owner to ban guns at their establishments. But the measure also seeks to standardize the signs owners would have to post.
Jackson said the change is needed because some existing signs “don’t even seem to be serious in nature.”
Last year’s law was opposed by the state’s police chiefs, sheriffs and the restaurant industry. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the bill, but both chambers easily voted for an override.
Nashville Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled in November that the law was “fraught with ambiguity.” The previous law sought to exclude establishments that predominantly serve alcohol, but Tennessee makes no legal distinction between bars and restaurants.
Read SB3012 at http://capitol.tn.gov
Published in The Messenger 4.30.10