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Guns in Bars in Tennessee Passes House; Onto Governor

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On Wednesday, May 5, the Tennessee State House moved to adopt Senate Bill 3012 in replace of House Bill 3125, by a vote of 66 to 31. 

The State House had to first table an anti-gun amendment attached to HB 3125, before they were able to substitute and conform to SB 3012.  This anti-gun amendment, authored by State Representative Harry Tindell (D-3), would have required the owner of an establishment that serves alcohol to post based on a percentage of their food sales.  This qualifier would have thus created a standard of vagueness within the law for the restaurant owners when determining whether or not the establishment was subject to the mandatory posting in the first place.

This bill also faced a last ditch effort made by State Representative Joe McCord (R-8) to attach the Tindell amendment to the House version of the bill. This would have forced a conference committee between the House and the Senate, which ultimately would have defeated the bill.  

Sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25) and by State Representative Curry Todd (R-95), SB3012 will enable a person who has a valid Right-to-Carry permit to carry a firearm for self-defense in restaurants where alcohol may be served, as long as the permit holder is not consuming alcohol or is not otherwise prohibited by posting provisions.  Alcohol consumption would be prohibited and violation would result in the loss of a permit for three years.  SB3012 also clearly defines posting provisions. 

This legislation was filed in response to a court ruling last November.  The previously enacted law was held to be unconstitutionally vague because of a perceived ambiguity over the state’s definition of restaurants.  SB3012 will fix any ambiguity.    

SB3012 will now head to the desk of Governor Phil Bredesen (D) for consideration.


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