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VOL. 125 | NO. 68 | Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tenn. House Panel Rejects Local Gun Bans for Bars

ERIK SCHELZIG | Associated Press Writer

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A House panel on Wednesday rejected an effort to allow local governments in Tennessee to decide whether they want to ban guns from being carried in bars.

Democratic Rep. Jimmy Naifeh of Covington tried to attach the local option provision to a bill that would allow people with handgun carry permits to bring their guns into any establishment that serves alcohol.

"We normally allow our local governments to have a say-so in issues of this magnitude," Naifeh told the House Budget Subcommittee.

The proposed amendment was defeated on a 9-6 vote. It would have mirrored a state law passed last year that gives city and county governments the ability to opt out of a law allowing guns in parks.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville was introduced in response to a Nashville judge's ruling that a similar law enacted last year was constitutionally vague.

Todd said Naifeh's proposal was an effort to kill the bill. The panel ultimately voted 8-7 to advance the measure to the House Finance Committee.

Nashville Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled in November that the law was "fraught with ambiguity." The previous law sought to exclude establishments that predominantly served alcohol, but Tennessee makes no legal distinction between bars and restaurants.

Last year's law was opposed by the state's police chiefs, sheriffs and the restaurant industry. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the bill, but both chambers easily voted for an override.

Republican Rep. Richard Montgomery of Sevierville called Todd's measure "business friendly legislation" because it still allows restaurant and bar owners to post a ban on guns in their establishments.

The companion bill was awaiting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

___

Read HB3125 at http://capitol.tn.gov

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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