This week, in a strong reaffirmation of the self-defense rights of Tennesseans, the Tennessee House and Senate successfully overrode Governor Phil Bredesen's (D) veto of House Bill 962. This NRA-supported bill will enable law-abiding Right-to-Carry permit holders to carry firearms for self-defense in restaurants that serve alcohol, provided the permit holder is not consuming alcohol. HB 962 passed both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support, but Gov. Bredesen vetoed the bill on May 28, disappointing more than 200,000 Right-to-Carry permit holders in his state. While an override of the veto needed only a simple majority vote to pass, it cleared both chambers with overwhelming, bi-partisan support. Passage of the measure will allow law-abiding Tennesseans to protect themselves and their families. This measure was overridden in the House on Wednesday by a margin of 69-27, and in the Senate on Thursday by a margin of 21-9.
"Until today, Tennessee law has prevented Right-to-Carry permit holders from having the chance to defend themselves from criminal attack while in a restaurant," said NRA-ILA Executive Director, Chris W. Cox. "This veto override proves Tennessee legislators trust permit holders and understand this is a common sense measure that must become law in their state, just as it is already law in 35 other states. HB 962 will allow permit holders the opportunity to protect their own lives and the lives of those they love."
HB 962 is crucial because crime does happen in restaurants. On April 2, 2009, Benjamin Felix Goeser was gunned down at Jonny's Sports Bar on Nolensville Road in Nashville. His wife, Nicole Goeser, has a Right-to-Carry permit, but she had to keep her gun locked in the car because of Tennessee law. Mrs. Goeser actively lobbied for the passage of this measure.
According to the Tennessee Legislature's legal staff, this common sense law will go into effect July 14, per Tennessee state law.
"Bill sponsors State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25) and State Representative Curry Todd (R-95), Tennessee leaders Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-02) and Speaker Kent Williams (R-04), as well as many other members of the Tennessee Legislature, should be applauded for their steadfast efforts to pass this important bill that will give good, law-abiding Tennesseans the chance to defend themselves and their loved ones while dining out," concluded Cox. "A special thank you to Nikki Goeser who actively worked on the passage of this legislation in memory of her late husband."