Gun In Bars Debate Not Over

An employee at a Nashville bar has filed a complaint with the state in August, claiming that people allowed to carry guns into bars create a hazardous work environment.

The complaint filed by an unidentified server at Jackson’s Bar and Bistro claims that allowing firearms in venues where alcohol is served is just asking for trouble, according to The Tennessean.

The filing with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development also alleges the law violates the Tennessee Occupational Safety And Health Administration’s regulations, the paper said.

The gun debate began last July when the state legislature passed a law that allows permit holders to carry firearms into a bar or restaurant as long as they don’t drink.

The law faced backlash from some restaurant and club owners in the state who fear guns and bars are a dangerous mix. Venue owners were also concerned as to who was responsible for enforcing the no-drinking clause and if they were protected from gun-related accidents happening in their buildings.

In November, a judge overturned the law, calling the measure “unconstitutionally vague.”

The General Assembly then passed a law this year that allows permit holders to carry guns into any facility that serves alcohol but gives venue owners the choice to post a sign banning firearms. Jackson’s reportedly chose not to and fights have broken out there, the paper said.

“The general duty clause of TOSHA says that an employer has a duty to protect and safeguard employees against recognized hazards to human health, safety and life,” David Randolph Smith, the employee’s attorney, told the Tennessean. “The only question is, ‘Are armed gunmen a hazard in a bar?’”

Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris disagrees.

“Fundamentally, I think the problem [with the complaint] is the General Assembly has the authority to set policy for the state of Tennessee, including whether the state is going to get involved in regulating firearms,” Harris told the Tennessean. “This just seems to be an effort to get some other governmental agency to intervene in an issue.”