Guns In Bars Reversed

A Davidson County, Tenn., judge has overturned that state’s guns-in-bars law enacted earlier this year, calling the measure “unconstitutionally vague.”

The legislation took effect July 14 and allowed permit holders, as long as they don’t drink, to carry their weapons into establishments that serve alcohol. The law faced backlash from some restaurant and club owners in the state who feared guns and bars would prove a dangerous combo.

Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman said the law was “fraught with ambiguity” when she ruled in favor Nov. 20 of a group of restaurant owners who filed suit challenging the gun bill.

Specifically, questions have been raised regarding enforcement of the no-drinking rule and the bill’s lack of liability protection for establishment owners should gun-related incidents happen at their buildings.

Previously, the state banned guns in all locations where alcohol is served. After the legislation was enacted, owners who disagreed with it were still able to opt out under an existing provision that allowed them to post signage banning guns in their buildings.

Randy Rayburn, a restaurateur and plaintiff in the case, applauded the ruling to the Tennessean.

“I think the judge’s common-sense ruling on the vagueness of the law affirms the recent [Middle Tennessee State University] poll that showed over 80 percent of Tenneseeans were opposed to the concept of guns in bars and restaurants,” Rayburn said.

Hopefully the legislature will turn its focus to other, more pressing matters than conflicts between the rights of property owners and those of Second Amendment supporters.”

A spokeswoman for the state attorney general’s office told the paper the state plans to review Bonnyman’s ruling and decide whether to appeal.