Saturday, November 21, 2009

More 2nd amendment controversy in TN as judge rules 'guns in bars' law unconstitutional


A Nashville judge has ruled a law that allows handguns in Tennessee bars and restaurants is unconstitutional.

Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled Friday that the law, enacted earlier this year over the veto of Gov. Phil Bredesen, is "fraught with ambiguity."
Critics of the bill — including the plaintiffs in the suit — have said the law was unconstitutionally vague. In Tennessee the law does not distinguish between a restaurant and a bar, making it hard for patrons and restaurant owners to know if they are violating the guns-in-bars law.

In Tennessee, places that serve liquor by the drink are technically classified and licensed as restaurants because they also must serve food as their primary purpose under the law. But audits of their sales sometimes show that establishments appearing to be restaurants actually have sold more alcohol than food, Will Cheek said.

"Who in the world knows, when you walk in the front door, whether it's a restaurant or a bar?" said Cheek, one of the plaintiff's attorneys.

He said Sam Sanchez, the owner of Sam's Sports Bar and Grill, had testified in an affidavit that he didn't know if his business was a bar or a restaurant.

"It depends on the time of the day, it depends on the time of year, and sometimes it varies from year to year," Cheek said.

State attorneys countered that a person of "ordinary intelligence" can tell whether food or alcohol is an establishment's main business.

"What the plaintiffs have basically told the court is that my husband and I aren't intelligent enough to tell what a restaurant is," Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay Sanders said.

"What really matters is who carries a gun," State Sen. Doug Jackson said. "Law-abiding citizens are not the problem."

Plaintiffs in the case "were not able to go into that courtroom and talk about the ill effects of this law … they did not occur," Jackson said. "We've had no problems. It was a non-event.

"All of these scary predictions about what was going to happen have not been realized." {more}

The Tennesseean throws in this tidbit without saying why it's relevant.
Of the roughly 218,000 handgun permit holders in Tennessee, 278 had their permits revoked last year, records showed.{more}

It's illegal to carry a handgun and drink alcohol. Restaurant/bar owners can post signs saying they do not allow guns in their establishments. What's so hard about that.....

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