News analysis: Can ‘guns and alcohol’ legislation get past Bredesen?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 at 12:28am

Legislation that would allow restaurant patrons to carry handguns where alcohol is sold — as long as they have a carry permit — has passed every hurdle it has come up against. The only real question seems to be whether Gov. Phil Bredesen will sign it into law when it reaches his desk.

The bill, which has widespread bipartisan support, is sponsored in the state House by Republican Rep. Curry Todd and in the state Senate by Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson. While their bills were different, lawmakers in the two houses have reached agreement on the provisions and the revised bill is scheduled to go before both bodies Thursday.

Agreed upon in conference committee is that that the majority of the language in the Senate bill will go forward.

That means that there will be no exemptions for establishments that only serve patrons 21 and over and that the rule prohibiting people from carrying firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. is gone. The only language that remained from the House version is that establishments can post a sign prohibiting licensed gun holders with carry permits from bringing a firearm onto their premises.

The guessing game on Capitol Hill right now is whether Bredesen will sign it into law, let it become law without his signature or veto the bill. Odds are high that any Bredesen veto would be overridden, but his actions could have bearing down the road on his political future.

Prohibited by law from running for a third term as governor, Bredesen could stay active in politics by either an executive appointment after he leaves office from President Barack Obama or run for the U.S. Senate down the road. His actions on a lightning-rod issue like this one will have a bearing on those possibilities.

Vetoing such legislation would probably make it easier for Washington, D.C. Democrats to support him should future appointment consideration come from Obama. Bredesen was assailed by more liberal elements in his party when he was being considered for the position as Health and Human Services Secretary for Obama.

In D.C. circles, a veto here wouldn’t raise an eyebrow among conservatives but would inspire the left to go after him again should he sign the bill into law or let it become law without his signature.

On the flip side, if he has any desire to run for U.S. Senate in the next 10 years, a veto would hurt him in rural areas of the state.

There is no winning any statewide campaign without significant support from rural communities. While the metropolitan areas as a whole seem to have a distaste for this legislation, they would get over Bredesen signing it into law.

But anyone who tells you for sure they know what Bredesen will do is really just taking a shot in the dark.

11 Comments on this post:

By: eastnashville37207 on 5/6/09 at 3:18

It shouldn't be approved.

By: idgaf on 5/6/09 at 5:43

It should be approved. Most resturants serve alcohol these days . Resturants shouldn't even have veto power of state law.

By: idgaf on 5/6/09 at 5:44

over state law

By: Kosh III on 5/6/09 at 6:20

It should not be approved, nor the guns in parks law. Law enforcement officials are unanimous in opposition to this.

IMHO Bredesen will let it go into effect without his signature.

By: rrooney on 5/6/09 at 7:14

I am a solid 2nd Amendment supporter but this is a very bad idea. Guns and alcohol don't mix.

By: house_of_pain on 5/6/09 at 7:46

"Bartender! Another round for me & my gun!"

By: tv8527 on 5/6/09 at 10:25

OK if I want to go have a nice meal after work I should be able to.I had no problem with the 11:00 pm restriction but as a permit holder who does not drink,I want the ability to protect my wife & myself should the need arise.Yes I can see some of your points but the facts are criminals jump people leaving bars every night because they know they are most likely not carrying a handgun.

By: Time for Truth on 5/6/09 at 11:07

I doubt Bredesen would run for the Senate. I have seen him at Preds games and he looks tired. We would more likely see another run by Harold Ford Jr.

If Bredesen were planning to go to D.C., where he could be helpful in shoring up the moderate influence within the administration, logic dictates that he will veto this bill. However I think Kosh III got it right, he won't sign it or veto it.

Personally I think the legislation is stupid. tv makes valid points, but this legislation will end up getting somebody killed if it becomes law. Allowing guns in State Parks is even dumber IMO and hopefully it won't move forward.

By: TharonChandler on 5/6/09 at 11:26

If the Bill Passed would that mean that the 'gun permit-holders' could actually 'shoot someone' in the restaurant, and get away with it? See they have some 'security' struggles in those 'restaurants' where the leggy and busty babes do the servin (and they sometimes get paid by legislative expense acct).

I'm being 'shot' by something as bad as a gun, right in the butt, and it is actually a type of poison that administrators are using 'against the homeless' campers in the 'Bay Area'; they seemingly do it in attempts to get them to come in to the local 'profit warehouses' for homeless services, as championed by some specific local churches and politicians.

Anyway, Phil would shoot someone himself if it meant they would comply to his jollies. Doug would use the 'stick' to get a contender with regard to 'proposition 44' fund$. And Curry is just a sold out right-winger to Guns, anyway. TC

By: pandabear on 5/6/09 at 12:57

The reality is that permit holders have been amoung
us for a long time. They are responsible citizens who
put themselves and their property on the line every day
while others walk around in an unarmed dream world saying to themselves,
"It'll never happen to me !".

Criminals don't get permits, don't care about restrictions, and don't
care who gets shot.

Guns and alcohol don't mix, and it's against the law to drink and carry.

Vermont is the second safest state in the union.
They are only 1 of 2 states that have a 2nd ammendment carry law.
That means the 2nd ammendment is your permit and you don't
need to "buy" one from the state.

Law enforcement is NOT against this:

Don't believe stuff without checking it out.
The "media" is not your friend.

Criminals love that.

By: TharonChandler on 5/6/09 at 2:49

'panderbear', 'Vermont' is Safe because it is populated with intelligent college graduates whom are similar to Canadians, in their mindset. Just because Phil is from near up there doesn't mean he has their mindset; he is some sort of 'outcast' from upstate NY. Dick Leahy and Sam waterston could tell ya. TC