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TN Gov Phil Bredesen Vetos New Guns in Bars Bill

By Kamika Dunlap on May 21, 2010 12:55 PM

As it stands, Tennesseans will not be allowed to take their guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, thanks to a veto of a bill by Gov. Phil Bredesen.

The Democratic governor says "guns and alcohol don't mix" and now the state's 270,000 handgun permit holders cannot go armed into establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption, the Associated Press reports.

This is the second year in a row Governor Bredesen (who is a gun owner and hunter) has vetoed a "guns-in-bars" bill.

As previously discussed, the guns in bars law also was struck down by a judge for being too vague.

Since Tennessee has no legal definition to distinguish bars from restaurants, Claudia Bonnyman, sitting in Davidson County chancery court, said the statute was "fraught with ambiguity."

Recent polls also show most people thinking that the answer to "may I take my gun to the bar?" should be no.

Previously, the law had allowed handgun permit holders to take their weapons into places serving alcohol, provided the establishment makes more than 50 percent of its profits from food.

Many restaurants across the state opted out of the law under a provision allowing them to do so.

But backers of the bill say they will fight Bredesen's veto.

The override campaign, however, would have to happen as the legislature is winding down business and will adjourn for the year. The Senate could not hold a vote until late next week without waiving its rules; the House could not take it up until still later.

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