Legal Fight Brewing Over Controversial State Gun Law - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Legal Fight Brewing Over Controversial State Gun Law

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lawmakers have passed a bill that would allow guns in restaurants, that serve alcohol. A coalition will sue state lawmakers, to stop the law from happening.

The core of the coalition is restaurant owners, attorneys, and civic leaders who believe state lawmakers were duped.

When the bill passed lawmakers said Tennessee was joining dozens of other states with similar gun laws. The coalition begged to differ and said the state has one of the strongest gun laws in the country.

"Our legislators were actually mislead by some slick lobbyists to believe this is common in 37 other states, and it is law, and it was just a flat lie, and they fell for it," said attorney Adam Dread.

After research the coalition discovered Tennessee's new gun law was one of the strongest in the country, compared to other states.

"The fact is that you can take a gun into an establishment in Georgia that serves alcohol in a restaurant, if it has a bar area - you cannot. But Tennessee's law permits nightclubs, saloons, dance bars, music halls, guns in all those, no state has ever done that," said attorney David Randolph Smith.

The law will allow handgun carry permit holders to carry guns into restaurants that serve alcohol, and they will not be allowed to drink if they have their weapon.

"This legislation is anti-business, it's anti public safety, and provides no safety for my employees or my customers," said restaurant owner Randy Rayburn.

To them guns and alcohol was a mix that only caused trouble.

"It may not be the person carrying the gun, it maybe the person that is drinking who happens to notice they are carrying a gun," Sam Sanchez, Sam's Sports Bar & Grill.

The new gun law was first vetoed by Governor Bredesen, but was overturned by state lawmakers. Many believe the bill is simply an extension of second amendment rights, and the roughly quarter of a million handgun carry permit holders in Tennessee are responsible with their weapon.

"I think the last thing they are trying to do is jeopardize the safety of Nashville, or Tennessee for that matter," said handgun instructor Charles Johnson.

The coalition was working to file their lawsuit before July 14 when the new state law goes into effect.

The group's ultimate goal was to stop the law altogether, or let individual cities choose if they want guns in restaurants, or not.

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