Guns-in-bars opponents to get day in court

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 3:06pm

One of the hottest issues in the state legislature will get its official day in court on Nov. 6, when a legal challenge to the new guns-in-bars law is heard in Davidson County Chancery Court.

Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman will preside over the hearing, which sees restaurant owners, concealed carry permit-holders and Nashville-area servers collectively challenging the law, with the state attorney general providing the defense.

The coalition filed suit in June and asked Bonnyman to prevent the law from taking effect. That request was denied.

Bonnyman showed an interest in one aspect of the coalition’s argument — that the new law is too vague to be fairly enforced. The law states that carry permit-holders may take their weapons into restaurants serving alcohol, provided the establishment makes more than 50 percent of its profits from food.

The problem, according to the complaint, is that some restaurants make more than 50 percent of their profits from food in certain months, but at other points make more money from the bar.

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Will Cheek explained the vagueness argument in a post last week on his personal blog. The Guns and Gin blog appears to have been set up specifically to disseminate information about the guns in bars legislation.

“You have to be able to tell if a place sells more food than alcohol, merchandise, rooms and other things typically sold by restaurants, bars, hotels and other places that sell alcohol. Many 'restaurants' make more money from booze than food,” Cheek said in the post.

Tennessee became the first state in the country to allow carry permit-holders to take guns into places serving alcohol by right when the legislature passed the law earlier this year.

The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. Nov. 6 in Bonnyman’s courtroom.

3 Comments on this post:

By: dargent7 on 9/23/09 at 6:13

These gun owners have less IQ than the ambient temp. of the bar.
If you cannot drink with a gun, why go to a bar? For a $4.00 Coke and look for trouble?
And the 50% liquor vs. food ratio...what genius came up with that law? It's just asking for trouble.
Personally, I don't go to bars or restaurants. Let these fools get in shoot outs and be embroiled in civil lawsuits for their life. At least it will take their vacant minds off health care reform.

By: Kosh III on 9/23/09 at 7:14

According to Ch 5, the legislature is considering next session in allowing guns in the workplace.
"Whaddya mean I'm late, lazy and don't get no raise?" Blam!

By: pandabear on 9/23/09 at 1:28

D7: Either you're incapable of getting the law straight,
you haven't read it, or you purposely misrepresent it.

The law is for a carry permit holder, who is carrying, to eat in a restaurant
where they also serve alcohol, as many do. If the permit holder drinks,
then he is in violation of the law.

I agree that the legislature was not smart in it's definitions of compliance,
and needs to be rectified.

Some of us find that Nashville is becoming more and more violent,
as is easy to see, every day. We want to take responsibility for our
own safety, as some put it, "when seconds count, the police are minutes away".

You do what you wish with your life, as long as it doesn't
require me to be a victim.