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.