Two of Nashville’s most vocal groups opposing a so-called “guns-in-bars” bill are speaking up again as another version of the bill moves forward in the General Assembly.
Restaurateur Randy Rayburn, who spearheaded attempts to thwart last year’s guns-in-bars bill, released a statement Monday saying, “This law is harmful to our business, customers, employees and tourism in general. The other cities have used our ‘Wild West’ legislation against us to help convince convention groups not to visit Tennessee according to our Convention and Visitors Bureau.”
The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce last week reiterated its stance on guns in bars.
“We support Second Amendment rights, but we feel this legislation sends the wrong message to our citizens and our visitors about who we are and what we value as a state and as communities,” Debby Dale Mason wrote in a statement.
Mason is the chief community action officer for the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Any legislation that allows the mixing of guns and alcohol hampers our ability to market our state and city as business and family relocation destinations and can deeply affect those who already call Tennessee home,” Mason said.
Last year’s bill would have allowed gun permit holders to carry guns in restaurants where food is the main source of business. Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman deemed the bill unconstitutional, ruling that its vagueness made determining a restaurant’s main source of business too difficult.
A new version of the bill, expected to go before the state House Ways and Means committee on Tuesday, would overcome any vagueness by allowing permitted gun users to carry in any venue.
In the past, Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas as said that alcohol and guns don’t mix.
“Chief Serpas’ position on guns in bars has not change. He continues to believe the concept is not conducive to public safety and is not good public policy.”
“He just disagrees with the concept and has not changed his posture since this type of legislation was first introduced a year ago,”
Restaurants and bars can opt out by posting signs telling customers that guns aren’t permitted inside.