The state attorney general's office has ruled that municipalities have no say-so over whether guns can be taken into restaurants.
A six-page opinion says the state legislature has exclusive jurisdiction over gun issues.
Since the legislature recently passed a bill allowing those with gun-carry permits to take guns into restaurants and parks a number of municipalities and county governments have tried to keep guns out of restaurants and parks in their local jurisdictions.
The Chattanooga City Council, Hamilton County Commission and the Red Bank City Council are among local bodies saying they do not want guns in their restaurants and/or parks.
County Attorney Rheubin Taylor said the opinion does not deal with guns in parks. He says the County Commission can take action on that issue.
The opinion says, "while municipalities have broad discretion to regulate the sale of beer through the permit process as described in (state law), a local ordinance banning 'any person' other than on-duty law enforcement officers from possessing a firearm in an establishment with an on-premises beer permit is not the regulation of the sale of beer, but rather is a local regulation pertaining to the possession of firearms and is therefore prohibited by (state law)."
It also said, "the plain meaning of the language of (state law) leads to the conclusion that the General Assembly has preempted local governments from any authority to regulate the possession of firearms except as expressly provided for by statute. Accordingly, the proposed Metropolitan Government ordinance amending Chapter 7.08 of the Metropolitan Code to prohibit firearms in any establishment with an on-premises beer permit exceeds the authority delegated to a municipality and would therefore be preempted by the state's exclusive right to regulate firearms as stated in (state law)."