Everybody Please Look! Travel to Tennessee and Restaurant Carry
Many of you may remember that, several months ago, Wyoming's Attorney General caused a stir when he unilaterally decided to reevaluate reciprocity with other states and their permits. An email campaign to Wyoming's tourism agency was mounted, and the Attorney General back-tracked rather quickly.
The Tennessee General Assembly just overrode Governor Bredesen's veto of HB0962, which essentially gives handgun carry permit holders the authority to carry in those restaurants which serve alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption as long as the restaurant is not posted against carry and as long as the carrier does not imbibe. Since Tennessee recognizes all facially valid permits from every other state, this would apply to all of you who have permits (sorry, Vermonters). This bill becomes effective on 14 July 2009, so don't carry in such locations until then!
Now, the government of Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County is attempting to use a quirk in Tennessee law to create a de facto ban in their jurisdiction. Liquor and wine sales are regulated by the state, but beer sales are regulated (under state law) by county beer boards. The city council of Nashville is considering an ordnance which will strip the beer license of any location which does not legally post against carry (Tennessee law stipulates that the sign have either specific wording or language substantially similar to that specific wording). If Nashville gets away with this, many other jurisdictions will probably follow suit.
State legislators have been contacted about this particular situation, and they are already requesting opinions from the state Attorney General about whether the state's preemption statute would render void this tactic, and, if not, they are promising to enact legislation preventing it prior to adjourning. Efforts are underway by voters in Nashville (and people in surrounding counties who do business in Nashville) to fight this backdoor ploy under promise of withholding their business from Davidson County should this pass.
This is the exact wording of what the General Assembly just passed and then overrode the veto:
If you are so inclined, you might consider sending a politely worded email to the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau regarding your concerns over this proposed anti-carry action:
In addition, here is the email address of Tennessee's tourism website if you would also like to contact them:
And, from the Tennessee Gun Owners forum, some excellent talking points (I wish I had written them):
Tennessee Gun Owners - View Single Post - Metro Davidson Council seeks to override HB0962 on local level
Obviously, some of these points are more from a local perspective, but you get the idea....
1. The ordinance as currently worded not only bans HCP Holders but would appear to place a ban on owners and employees from carrying inside their businesses to protect themselves. So they're not just preventing HCP carry, they're also removing rights business owners have today and have had for years.
2. Passing this ordinance will impose a 3-4% loss or more on Davidson County Restaurants while places in Mt Juliet, CoolSprings, Smyrna, and Hendersonville will not have to turn away these customers. This will drive away law abiding citizens from Davidson County restaurants which costs the businesses and the county income and taxes.
3. Arguments that having to post signs may hurt or drive away business are unreasonable. Current law requires that business already have no firearms signs posted (if they serve beer), in all likely hood the additional signage would go unnoticed.
4. Passing an ordinance that if different than the rest of the state needs to required additional signage because we need to inform these law abiding citizens that Metro is different from the rest of the state (which further invalidates #3).
5. It's likely the ordinance would violate 39-17-1314 and it's very likely that the NRA or some other Gun Owners organization will file suit over the ordinance, costing tax payers to spend money defending an illegal ordinance.
6. Other tourism heavy states such as Florida and Texas have allowed restaurant carry for many years, and have had few if any problems resulting from allowing permit holders carry in restaurants. The facts don't support that either state lost tourism dollars from passing restaurant carry laws.
7. Owners today can post their businesses if they do not wish to have HCP holders as customers, while business who may wish to cater to these customers may choose not to post. Just like with smoking bans, the local business owner should be able to make up his mind whether he allows carry or not, the council should not force business to turn away these customers in this economy.
8. HCP Holders aren't the problem, criminals (who can't legally get permits) are the problem, we can cite a number of attacks involving firearms locally over the last few years, but nobody can document a case of a HCP holder illegally opening fire in a restaurant.
9. Does the council member eat at Shoney's or McD's (insert restaurant name here)? If so they most likely have been sitting down to eat next to a permit holder over the last 12+ years, have they felt unsafe in those restaurants?
9. These same claims that blood would run in the street were published in the papers 12+ years ago when HCP was passed, and that is far from the truth, today HCP holders have some of the best safety records of anybody legally (or illegally) carrying firearms in the state.
Thank you for any support you can give us on this issue. We have been hoping for this in Tennessee for a long time--as usual, opponents don't rest, so we can't either.