Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen (D) has vetoed NRA-backed legislation that would have given gun owners in the state a chance to defend themselves in restaurants.
NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox said, "Governor Bredesen has chosen to side against the self-defense rights of law-abiding Tennesseans. While campaigning for governor, he committed in writing to sign restaurant carry into law. He either has an unbelievably short memory, lied or both."
On May 5, the Tennessee State House moved to adopt Senate Bill 3012 in place of House Bill 3125, by a vote of 66 to 31. Sponsored by State Senator Doug Jackson (D-25) and State Representative Curry Todd (R-95), this bill would have allowed a person who has a valid Right-to-Carry permit to carry a firearm for self-defense in restaurants where alcohol may be served, as long as the permit holder is not consuming alcohol or is not otherwise prohibited by posting provisions. Alcohol consumption would have been prohibited and a violation would have resulted in the loss of a permit for three years and possible jail time.
A similar restaurant carry bill passed the Tennessee House and Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support last May, only to be vetoed by Gov. Bredesen. Then, despite a successful veto override by Tennessee's state legislature, the enacted law was ruled unconstitutionally vague because of a perceived ambiguity over the state's definition of restaurants. SB 3012 clearly defined posting provisions. This legislation, filed in response to that court ruling last November, fixed any possible ambiguity.
"Restaurants aren't immune from criminal activity. We've seen horror stories time and again of honest people who might have avoided becoming crime victims, if only the law would have let them have the means to protect themselves," concluded Cox. "This issue is not over. We will pass this law. We ask that every Tennessean who believes in self-defense contact their state legislators and tell them they support this reasonable expansion of self-defense rights."