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NASHVILLE - The Tennessee House today voted 69-27 to override Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto of a bill allowing handgun-carry permit holders to bring loaded weapons into restaurants and bars selling alcohol.

That was more than the 66-23 margin when the bill originally passed.

The bill's Senate sponsor, Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, has said he intends to bring the measure up before the chamber on Thursday.

The House action was the chamber's first override of a Bredesen veto and also the first since 2001, when lawmakers overrode then-Gov. Don Sundquist, who vetoed an appropriations bill.

House Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, urged lawmakers to uphold Gov. Bredesen's actions, noting lawmakers "should listen to the police chiefs. We should listen to our local attorneys general, our sheriffs, all of our law enforcement, all of these people are opposed to the bill."

But House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of College Grove argued that, under the current law, only the "bad guys are bringing guns in restaurants and killing people." The bill says permit holders are not allowed to consume alcohol and restaurants can post signs banning them from bringing weapons in.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

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