In recognition of this basic principle of firearm safety, Tennessee state law has long prohibited the possession of firearms in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. House Bill 962 would remove this protection in a manner that I, along with many law enforcement officers, believe to be reckless and lacking basic safeguards to ensure public safety. The notion that this bill would permit one to carry a concealed weapon into a crowded bar at midnight on a Saturday night defies common sense, and I cannot sign such a measure into law. As you consider this veto, I respectfully ask the legislature to rethink this issue.
We agree with Governor Bredesen. And despite what the TNGOP would have you believe, so do most Tennesseans, as we found out during our last show when we opened up the phone lines to talk about guns and guns in bars.
We spoke to a lawyer, a mother, a serviceman, and several citizens (one of who wonders out loud if he feels safer knowing that his Roane County representatives are packing heat) about it all – if there is a Constitutional right to be safe in your person, what specific rights are being taken away from gun owners (if any), does alcohol makes you less likely to follow the law, does the public have a right to know the names of gun permit holders, what is the responsibility of bar owners and bartenders and why didn’t anyone ask them what they think about guns in bars, and why do your second amendment rights stop at the door to Legislative Plaza? And not everyone was on the same page.
Despite the political machinations of certain Republican legislators and special interest groups who use hot-button issues to try and divide and conquer, we found out that Tennesseans who disagree can have a thoughtful and thorough discussions on issues like guns and find common ground and consensus. Too bad that’s not the goal of the TNGOP.