Tennessee Gun Law Is A Bad Idea - And Replies

Friday, January 25, 2008

There is a new gun law moving through the Tennessee legislature. It passed the Senate this week and is headed to the House for consideration.

This bill will allow persons with a gun permit to now carry their weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol. What are our legislators thinking? Have they not heard that alcohol and guns don't mix?

This is a very bad idea and will only lead to more mortality. As a health care provider, I can assure you that most of the shootings that occur are alcohol related. This will only lead to more. I wonder how the policemen will be affected when they are called to a bar to break up a fight of armed men?

My senator, Bo Watson, voted for the bill. My representative, Richard Floyd, supports it. I am disappointed in their judgment on this one. I have encouraged Mr. Floyd to vote against this bill. I encourage you to contact your representative as well.

Mike Harvey
Nurse Anesthetist
Signal Mountain

* * *

On the surface this argument against SB23 and HB702, seems reasonable, however if we include the facts, which are often left out of most of the "feel good" crowds complaints, it falls on its face.

First, stating it allows a CCP holder to "now carry their weapon into an establishment that serves alcohol" leaves out the fact that it must be an establishment that derives 50% of its income from food. I doubt pretzels and peanuts at the bar satisfy that requirement. Second, the CCP holder must not be consuming any alcohol. And third, all any establishment has to do to make it a crime for the CCP holder to have a weapon on them in their establishment, is put a simple No Weapons sign (translated "unarmed law abiding citizens in here" in criminals' language) right next to the No Smoking sign they already have on the front door.

Ever wonder why those intent on doing harm with a gun always go to a school or mall (where the No Weapons signs are) and not the local police station? Just maybe it's because they would be met with a bit of resistance.

I'm sure the Nurse Anesthetist from Signal Mountain understands that those intent on doing harm to others do not care what laws our legislature passes or what signs restaurants put on their doors. The law abiding CCP holder is the one waiting for the law to pass so that they may protect themselves legally and possibly the nurse and his family as well, if the situation arises. After all, it's the individuals concerned with abiding by the law, enough to go to the trouble of getting a CCP that we're talking about here in the first place. The person carrying illegally is already breaking the law and doesn't care. This legislation simply evens the playing field between criminal and citizen. Believe me I understand the concerns regarding raising shooting rates, but if one would simply take the time to investigate other states that have enacted such laws, Georgia for instance, and their shooting rates they will plainly see their concerns are for naught.

Unfortunately, Speaker Naifeh feels the same way Nurse Harvey does and is against it as well, and has succeeded in preventing it from coming to a vote in the past and probably will again.

Thank you Sen. Bo Watson, Rep. Richard Floyd and Rep. Vince Dean (my representative) for backing this legislation.

Dave Schussler
Business Owner
East Brainerd

* * *

This bill has been in the pipe for over a year. It was stalled in 2007 while efforts were focused on legislating castle doctrine. Here is the summary of SB0023 / HB0702.

Under present law, it is a Class A misdemeanor for a person to possess a firearm where alcoholic beverages are served for on-premises consumption. This prohibition does not apply to a person who is:

(1) In the actual discharge of official duties as a law enforcement officer, or is employed in the army, air force, navy, coast guard or marine service of the United States or any member of the Tennessee national guard in the line of duty and pursuant to military regulations, or is in the actual discharge of duties as a correctional officer employed by a penal institution; or
(2) On the person's own premises or premises under the person's control or who is the employee or agent of the owner of the premises with responsibility for protecting persons or property.

This bill expands the exceptions for carrying a firearm where alcoholic beverages are served to authorize a person who possesses a handgun carry permit and who is not consuming alcoholic beverages to have a firearm on such premises. This provision would not apply if the owner of the premises has banned weapons from the premises and posted notice informing people of the ban.

If you are drinking you are rightfully breaking the law by having a gun in your pocket. Yes it is crazy to give a bunch of drunks some guns, but that is not the motivation behind this bill. People who have fulfilled the requirements of the handgun permit are actually very respectable citizens who do not take lightly the tremendous responsibility granted to them via the bill of rights. They have clean backgrounds and generally keep to themselves. If you let your imagination run wild it may seem counterintuitive to even consider such a bill, but that is subjective reasoning and there are many objective studies to prove otherwise.

If the owner of an establishment does not want any part of this all they have to do is post a sign. It is pretty safe to assume that the seedier bars will have these signs up as a result of this bill passing which will happen sometime later this year.

Somehow I get the impression that the submitter of the above article has visions of the O.K. corral in the wild west. The bill is not intended to give firepower during a bar fight. I repeat, this bill is not flying through legislature to give you the right to shoot someone who steps on you boot in a bar. You will go to jail for a very, very long time for doing this. This bill is to allow people who are not consuming alcohol to eat at their favorite restaurant without having to leave their carry gun in their vehicle. This bill is intended to grant people the right to carry while making the walk through the shady parking lot on the way to/from their car. There are several states that already have similar laws with no problems at all.

Matt Craigge
Chattanooga

* * *

I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Mike Harvey's opinion on the pending change to the Tennessee gun law. As a 25-year law enforcement officer I can personally attest to the fact that the only persons who abide by laws are the honest citizens of society, a criminal will if so inclined ignore any laws including carrying a gun to a bar while the law abiding citizen does not.

All this does is disarm the law abiding citizen and leave him at the mercy of the criminals.

It is my understanding that the change to the law would allow a person with a gun permit to carry a weapon with him as long as he was not drinking. I think this is a positive thing as it would allow a law abiding citizen to protect himself or possibly others from an armed criminal until the police arrive.

Think about it, if you disarm the honest citizens of our country only the criminals who are breaking the law will have weapons and we will all be at their mercy.

Ric Whaley

* * *

Respectfully, I have to disagree with Mr. Harvey in regards to the new gun law. For me and many others in Tennessee this will be much needed improvement to our state’s current laws.

To quote Mr. Harvey (who is a healthcare professional and I have the utmost respect for), "I can assure you that most of the shootings that occur are alcohol related." If this is true (which I am unsure of, I have never seen actual statistics on this, but again, I respect Mr. Harvey's professional opinion and will take his word for it), then this is yet another reason that the bill should be passed. All of these "alcohol related shootings" that are apparently happening are occurring without this law being on the books. So, does that mean that
people are toting guns into establishments that serve alcohol already? Sure it does. And I can guarantee one thing: The people who are toting guns into bars or restaurants that serve alcohol are not gun permit holders.

Why? Because we permit holders could lose our right to carry a firearm for our protection and our family's protection. Why would this be enough motivation for permit holders to not carry in a place that serves alcohol? Because the folks that went through the red tape and the trouble and dished out the money to be able to legally carry in the state of Tennessee are law abiding citizens.

The people who are carrying weapons into bars and restaurants now do not have permits, do not respect the current laws, and are exactly the type of people that I and my family have a God-given right to defend ourselves from.

I am perfectly fine with not passing this law, but I assure you that I will continue to avoid any establishment where I am not allowed to protect my family. Unless of course the government would like to provide my family and me security when we go places that we are not allowed to protect ourselves.

Elijah Parker
Chattanooga

* * *

I have to agree with Mr. Harvey. Guns and alcohol do not mix. It appears that the legislature agrees as well.

The bill, House Bill 702 and Senate Bill 23, amends Tennessee Code Annotated Title 39, Chapter 17, Part 13 with the provision that handgun carry permit-holding citizens can indeed go armed in an establishment that serves alcohol; however, the bill is amended with a provision that they do not consume alcoholic beverages.

Of course, let's not forget this bill only affects legally-armed citizens. There are still plenty of illegally-armed individuals who go to these establishments and drink and get into fights and etc. This bill makes no difference there.

Jay Ware
Ooltewah

* * *

I'm still trying to understand why we need someone's permission to
purchase, own, and bear constitutionally-protected personal
property.

John Reed



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