Judge rules that Tennessee's restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague

This is a discussion on Judge rules that Tennessee's restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I received an email this week from the NRA and am a little shocked to understand that because of this judges decision they are suggesting ...

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Thread: Judge rules that Tennessee's restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array orangevol's Avatar
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    Judge rules that Tennessee's restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague

    I received an email this week from the NRA and am a little shocked to understand that because of this judges decision they are suggesting we should not carry in TN restaurants that serve alcohol. Is this just that, "a suggestion"? Is it now illegal once again to carry in these restaurants? I sent an email to my State Rep, Curry Todd, one of the sponsors of HB 962, but have not yet received a reply. I figured the news folks would jump all over this.

    Fairfax, Va. - Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman of the Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tennessee ruled last week that Tennessee's restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague because of a perceived ambiguity over the state's definition of restaurants. This law gave right-to-carry permit holders the chance to defend themselves from criminal attack while in a restaurant.

    "Right-to-carry permit holders in Tennessee need to be aware that the chancery court's regrettable and incorrect decision effectively suspends the law the legislature enacted and that they should not carry in restaurants until this litigation is resolved on appeal," concluded Cox. "The NRA will continue to fight on behalf of our members, permit holders and victims of crime until this reasonable self-defense measure is restored as Tennessee law."
    Proud NRA member

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  3. #2
    New Member Array Flavet's Avatar
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    Definitions of Restaurants/Bars

    I was surprised to learn recently that a Tennessee court had deemed the law allowing concealed carry in restaurants because the word "restaurant" had not been defined with sufficient clarity or distinction. I have not read the decision itself.

    In other jurisdictions where I have lived legislation involving the same kind of distinction has defined a simple but demonstrable difference between "bars," for instance, and "restaurants" when both kinds of establishments served food and alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption.

    An establishment serving food and beverages was defined as a restaurant if fifty percent or more of its revenue is derived from the sale of food. If the revenue derived from the sale of food is less than fifty percent, the establishment is not a restaurant.

    These numbers are determinable from examination of certifications by the owners or managers of the establishments; they can be verified by audits of the establishments' records. Untruthful reports can be prosecuted as fraud or as perjury.

    I do not know if Tennessee had a similar definition.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array orangevol's Avatar
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    This is on the TN.gov website...

    "On November 20, 2009, the Davidson County Chancery Court held that the law allowing Tennessee handgun carry permit holders to carry their handguns into establishments serving alcohol was unconstitutional. As a result, the prior law which prohibited all persons from carrying firearms into establishments serving alcohol is back in effect."

    This is bull, how can one judge overturn what a full body of State Representatives voted to approve?
    Proud NRA member

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    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    I know that this isn't what you want to hear but the judge can do it because that's his job and it is within his authority.

    This issue in now in the hands of the appeals court where the real issue is whether the trial judge put his personal biases (if any) against guns into his decision or whether the law really is as vague as he said it is.

    Should the appeals court support the judge then the only solution is for the State legislature to re-write the law to correct the language deficiency. (note: The should do this anyway, IMO.)

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Bubbiesdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flavet View Post
    I was surprised to learn recently that a Tennessee court had deemed the law allowing concealed carry in restaurants because the word "restaurant" had not been defined with sufficient clarity or distinction. I have not read the decision itself.

    In other jurisdictions where I have lived legislation involving the same kind of distinction has defined a simple but demonstrable difference between "bars," for instance, and "restaurants" when both kinds of establishments served food and alcoholic beverages for on-site consumption.

    An establishment serving food and beverages was defined as a restaurant if fifty percent or more of its revenue is derived from the sale of food. If the revenue derived from the sale of food is less than fifty percent, the establishment is not a restaurant.

    These numbers are determinable from examination of certifications by the owners or managers of the establishments; they can be verified by audits of the establishments' records. Untruthful reports can be prosecuted as fraud or as perjury.

    I do not know if Tennessee had a similar definition.

    I had no problem figuring if I could carry in a place or not.

    http://www.capitol.tn.gov/Bills/106/Chapter/PC0339.pdf


    STATE OF TENNESSEE
    PUBLIC CHAPTER NO. 339
    VETOED BY THE GOVERNOR
    HOUSE BILL NO. 962
    By Representatives Todd, McCord, Tindell, Evans, Fincher, Watson,
    Faulkner, Eldridge, Rowland, McCormick, Bass, Hackworth, Curt Cobb,
    Carr, Matheny, Mumpower, Floyd, Bell, Lollar, Casada, Rich, Lynn,
    Harrison, Shipley, Dean, Curtis Johnson, Phillip Johnson, Niceley, Tidwell,
    Shepard, Hill, Ramsey, Halford, Haynes, Swafford, Maggart, Hensley, West,
    Montgomery, Dennis, Harry Brooks, Matlock, Dunn, Hawk, Lundberg,
    Weaver, Roach, Ford, Moore, Fraley
    Substituted for: Senate Bill No. 1127
    By Senators Jackson, Norris, Gresham
    AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 39, Chapter 17, relative to firearms.
    BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
    SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 39-17-1305(c), is amended
    by adding the following language as a new, appropriately designated subdivision:
    (3)
    (A) Authorized to carry a firearm under § 39-17-1351 who is not
    consuming beer, wine or any alcoholic beverage, and is within the
    confines of a restaurant that is open to the public and serves alcoholic
    beverages, wine or beer.
    (B) As used in this subdivision (c)(3), “restaurant” means any
    public place kept, used, maintained, advertised and held out to the public
    as a place where meals are served and where meals are actually and
    regularly served, such place being provided with adequate and sanitary
    kitchen and dining room equipment, having employed therein a sufficient
    number and kind of employees to prepare, cook and serve suitable food
    for its guests. At least one (1) meal per day shall be served at least five
    (5) days a week, with the exception of holidays, vacations and periods of
    redecorating, and the serving of such meals shall be the principal
    business conducted.
    SECTION 2. This act shall take effect on June 1, 2009, the public welfare
    requiring it.
    PASSED: May 14, 2009
    APPROVED this day of 2009
    ________________________________
    PHIL BREDESEN, GOVERNOR
    “See Attachments”
    **Effective date July 14, 2009**
    Always remember that others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
    Richard M Nixon
    Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”
    Jeff Cooper

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