Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bill to allow handguns in bars dies

By THEO EMERY • Staff Writer (Tennessean) • April 3, 2008 A bill that would have allowed gun owners to bring handguns into bars and other establishments serving alcohol died on Wednesday at the urging of House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh, the bill's sponsor said. The so-called "guns in bars" bill had been introduced and defeated numerous times in previous years. It was recently the butt of a segment on the Colbert Report television show, with video footage of Senate sponsor Doug Jackson, a Dickson Democrat, at a gun range shooting at an apple pie, a hot dog and a baseball. House sponsor Joe McCord, a Maryville Republican, said a pre-hearing discussion Wednesday with Naifeh and fellow committee member Rep. Rob Briley made him "painfully aware" that the legislation could not be approved in its current form. He told the committee that "responsible" legislation would require legal definitions of bars and nightclubs that don't exist under state law. Further study was needed to hammer out those definitions, he said. "Over the summer, we are going to have to try to come up with a definition of nightclub or a definition of bar that currently does not exist in codes," he said. "That is the only way I think that we can accomplish the goal." Naifeh, a Covington Democrat, appeared briefly in the House Criminal Practices Subcommittee on Wednesday, conferred with lawmakers and lawyers for several minutes, and then left. He didn't vote on the "guns in bars" bill, although he could have. He is allowed to vote under House rules. He later returned to the same subcommittee meeting Wednesday to reverse another vote on a bill that would have made private information about people who have state-issued handgun carry permits.

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