published Thursday, May 7th, 2009

House passes ‘guns in bars’ bill

NASHVILLE — House members voted overwhelmingly Thursday to accept the Senate version of a bill that allows handgun permit holders in Tennessee and 19 other states, including Georgia, to take their loaded firearms into establishments, including bars and night clubs, that serve alcoholic beverages.

The vote was 66-23 to accept a conference committee report quickly agreed to earlier this week by House and Senate negotiators. The conference committee was created to iron out differences in the legislation after the two chambers passed different versions of the measure.

“We now have true bars where alcohol and guns are going to be mixed,” said House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, who opposed the bill.

House Bill 962 will now come back before the Senate on Monday where it is expected to easily pass. Gov. Phil Bredesen has repeatedly dodged questions from reporters on what he will do with the bill as well as other gun bills that have proliferated in this year’s General Assembly.

The bill says permit holders cannot consume alcohol, but critics question its enforceability. The bill also allows establishments to post signs prohibiting permit holders from bringing in weapons.

The bill no longer contains original House provisions that included an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew during which time guns would be banned in establishments selling beer, whiskey and wine. The agreement adopted by the House also does away with the House’s original position that guns would not be allowed into age-restricted venues.

Both were efforts to keep loaded firearms out of bars, nightclubs and what one senator called “honky tonks.”

Under a reciprocity agreement, Tennessee honors the handgun carry permits of other states that recognize the ability of Tennessee permit holders.

As a result, Safety Department General Counsel Roger Hutto acknowledged, permit holders from states ranging from Georgia to Alaska can bring their loaded guns into Tennessee establishments selling alcohol.

In other action, senators voted 25-1 to prohibit confiscations of lawfully possessed firearms and ammunition during periods of martial rule. House Bill 1778, previously approved by the House, goes to Gov. Bredesen.

The Senate delayed action on another bill that allows handgun carry permit holders to carry loaded rifles and shotguns in their vehicles.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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has there been any "blood in the streets" in the 19 states that have this same law? NO. stop crying about this topic and do some statistical research before printing a story.

a gun is a tool and a gun will act to whomever has posession of said tool. guns dont aim themselves and they certainly do not jump out of holsters at the local Chili's and start shooting.

remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

May 8, 2009 at 1:37 a.m.
GeorgiaRebel said...

If the cry-babies are worried about enforcement, let them answer how they are going to enforce the current ban. The stupid morons who want to micromanage the lives of law-abiding citizens have no clue as to how the world actually works. Changing the law will only permit law-abiding people to lawfully protect themselves. Criminals and miscreants will continue to violate this and other laws. The difference will be that law-abiding citizens will not be prosecuted for being able to protect themselves from the evil people that this moronic politicians want to coddle.

May 8, 2009 at 12:05 p.m.
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