Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tennessee Lawmakers Allow Guns In Bars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Handguns will soon be allowed in bars and restaurants in Tennessee under a new law passed by state legislators who voted to override the governor's veto.

The legislation that takes effect July 14 retains an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a handgun, and restaurant owners can still opt to ban weapons from their establishments.

Thirty-seven other states have similar laws.

The state Senate voted 21-9 on Thursday against Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto, a day after the House also voted 69-27 to override.

They overrode critics, including Bredesen, who said it's a bad idea to have guns and alcohol in close proximity.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

Of the roughly 218,000 handgun permit holders in Tennessee, 278 had their permits revoked last year, records show. Since 2005, state records shows nearly 1,200 people have lost their permits.

Revocations are issued for felony convictions, while permits can be suspended for pending criminal charges or for court orders of protection.

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