Gun in bars debate rages on following Bredesen veto - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Gun in bars debate rages on following Bredesen veto

By Jamel Major - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Ken Casstevens has been bartending for about 15 years. He says even the thought of having a gun in a bar is frightening.

"I think it's horrible for anybody to even think about bringing that up. It would change the way people react in a bar," said Casstevens.

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen vetoed a bill that would have allowed registered gun owners to carry guns into bars and restaurants.

"I've had lots of communication with people on both sides of that issue through the thing, and probably my conversations with law enforcement are the ones that were most influential to me on this," said Bredesen. "Because, for the rest of us, this is all very theoretical. The guys and ladies who have to deal with this issue day in and day out," said Bredesen.

But it's a move that's not sitting well with some gun owners.

"I disagree with a veto. I really do," said gun owner Jeff Earnest. "I believe that a responsible gun owner should be able to carry it in a restaurant or anywhere."

Current Tennessee law bans guns from being carried into any establishment that serves alcohol.

"I think we need to have the right to protect ourselves no matter where we are," said Earnest.

Some restaurant owners have signs posted on their front doors prohibiting guns. They say that even if permit holders are allowed to bring guns into bars or restaurants, enforcing the rules would be tough.

"The rules say they may not drink when they're in here, but who's to say they're not drunk when they walk in, or been doing drugs before they walk in?" said Casstevens. "That may change the way they react to a situation in here."

Meanwhile, the one thing both sides can agree on is that the issue will not pass without a fight.


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