Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Right-to-Carry In Restaurants

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


It hurts to say this, but I`m embarrassed by what` going on in my home state of Tennessee. I`m even more disappointed by the recent actions of Governor Phil Bredesen. But these developments offer some important lessons for Right-to-Carry reform nationwide.

Right-to-Carry is not a new concept. It` been the law in Tennessee for more than ten years. A 1998 article in the Tennessean newspaper carried the incredulous headline, "Gun law hasn`t led to carnage"--as if this were a big surprise.

The pattern is familiar. When Right-to-Carry is proposed anywhere, our opponents whip up fear and hysteria about "blood in the streets."

Of course, the mayhem never materializes. When Right-to-Carry passes, only a small percentage of the population applies for a permit. By definition, these people are law-abiding.

But that small percentage of the public is enough to change the odds against predatory criminals. And even the media are starting to get it. Another Tennessee newspaper, the Commercial Appeal, ran an article last year that looked at the increase in justifiable homicides, from 11 in 2006 to 32 in 2007. A Memphis concealed-carry instructor had a simple explanation for the reporter: "The thugs have started running into people who can protect themselves."

When first passed, Right-to-Carry laws are often imperfect. To get enough votes for passage, sponsors often have to carve out certain locations where Right-to-Carry will not be allowed. So we have our work cut out for us, in Tennessee and elsewhere, to reform these arbitrary lists of supposedly "gun free zones"--which are really just safe zones for criminals.

Tennessee` original law banned lawful carry in any restaurant that serves alcohol. "Guns and alcohol don`t mix," our opponents warn. And while that` true on the target range or in the hunting fields, our opponents really believe that guns don`t "mix" with anything. And, as with the concept of Right-to-Carry itself, they are ignoring the experience of the 39 states that don`t ban lawful carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.

The debate in Tennessee followed the familiar pattern this year. The legislature passed a bill to allow lawful carry in restaurants (as long as the permit holder doesn`t drink), and the media launched into predictions of carnage--again. Having lost sight of recent history, Governor Phil Bredesen capitulated to the media and vetoed the bill during a staged, camera-friendly event.

The legislature quickly voted to override the governor` veto. Then, the legislature went a step further and passed another law to permit lawful carry in state parks. But to avoid another veto, the legislature included a provision allowing localities to "opt out" of lawful carry in their own municipal parks.

Now, debates have erupted all over the state about whether localities should opt out of the parks law, and whether restaurant owners should post their establishments as off-limits. Governor Bredesen` veto has set the tone for this debate, so we have him to thank for the overreactions from cities such as Memphis and Nashville. Those two cities lead a long list of municipalities that may "opt out" their parks, resulting in a patchwork of bans.

Nashville and Memphis are pushing restaurant owners to go even further. The Memphis city council passed a resolution that encourages restaurant owners to post their establishments as off-limits. As a result, the group managing the popular Beale Street has promised that their restaurants will post signs and "metal detector wands will be used at every entrance." That` certainly not the Tennessee hospitality I grew up with.

The issue has even gone to court, with a bizarre lawsuit claiming that the new law illegally promotes "vigilantism" and violates a "fundamental right to be free from gun violence"--a right that even the plaintiffs` lawyer admits is a new one. (He helpfully points to a constitutional provision on the issue. Unfortunately for him, it` in South Africa` constitution, not Tennessee`.)

Clearly, our work in Tennessee is not done, nor is it done in other states facing similar issues. We will return next year, and every year if we have to, until Right-to-Carry is truly honored. We will point out the facts--and work to defeat candidates who have bought into the hype.

Eventually, we`ll prevail. But the fight will never be easy. Facts can dispel the fears of legislators, but not those that afflict opponents of self-defense. As I`ve said before, our opponents suffer from a fear of change, a fear of the unknown, and--strangest of all--a fear of their fellow citizens and neighbors.

The first part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt` quote is the famous one, but the rest is equally applicable: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." As we advance the right of self-defense through Right-to-Carry, the only people who should retreat into fear are violent criminals.

IN THIS ARTICLE
Tennessee Right-To-Carry
TRENDING NOW
H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

H.R. 8 Markup: Liberal Democrats Markup Gun Control Legislation

The Nancy Pelosi Speaker Era 2.0 continued on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with a markup of H.R 8, the “universal” background checks bill, in the House Judiciary Committee. Following on the heels of last week’s Judiciary Committee hearing, the same committee held a markup on ...

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Another Study Blames Guns, Excludes Reality

A study published in Preventative Medicine by Yu Lu and Jeff R. Temple concludes that “the majority of mental health symptoms examined were not related to gun violence. Instead, access to firearms was the primary culprit.”

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Turning a Right into a Privilege: HR 1112 Gives Feds Unfettered Power to Block Gun Sales

H.R. 8, which would criminalize the private transfer of firearms, has received significant attention from the gun rights community. However, H.R. 1112, which purportedly targets the inappropriately-named “Charleston loophole,” is just as insidious an attack ...

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

Monday, February 18, 2019

Washington: Hearing for Bill to Expand Gun Seizures Without Due Process

On February 19th, the Washington state Senate Committee on Law & Justice will be holding an executive session on Senate Bill 5745 to expand the circumstances under which Second Amendment rights may be revoked without ...

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

News  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Polls: No Lasting Support for Gun Control One Year After Parkland

Thursday marked the one year anniversary of the terrible crimes at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. It was a somber occasion, but some media outlets couldn’t contain their glee this week that ...

Indiana: Self-Defense Bill Passes House, On To Senate

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Indiana: Self-Defense Bill Passes House, On To Senate

On February 11th, the Indiana state House of Representatives voted 80-13 to pass House Bill 1284 to enhance protections afforded to law-abiding citizens acting in defense of themselves and others.  HB 1284 will now go to the ...

Colorado: House Committee to Consider “Red Flag” Legislation This Week

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Colorado: House Committee to Consider “Red Flag” Legislation This Week

On Thursday, ​at 1:30pm in the Old State Library, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider anti-gun legislation, House Bill 1177.

Washington: Magazine Ban & Firearm Seizure Bills Pass Committee

Friday, February 1, 2019

Washington: Magazine Ban & Firearm Seizure Bills Pass Committee

During the executive session on February 1st, the Washington state House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary voted to pass House Bill 1068 to ban many standard capacity ammunition magazines and House Bill 1225 for firearm ...

Texas: Setting the Record Straight On "Red Flag" Legislation

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Texas: Setting the Record Straight On "Red Flag" Legislation

Over the holiday weekend, a conservative "taxpayer watchdog" group sent out an email to its contact list which gave the impression that NRA-ILA supports "red flag" legislation in Texas.  One wonders what the organization hoped to accomplish by confusing and attempting to divide ...

Maryland: 2019 Legislative Session Begins with a Slew of Anti-Gun Bills Introduced

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Maryland: 2019 Legislative Session Begins with a Slew of Anti-Gun Bills Introduced

With the 2019 Maryland Legislative Session underway, gun control groups have made the General Assembly a target for their anti-gun agenda. 

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.