Beale Street to ban guns, use metal detectors

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Big changes are coming to Beale Street, as the entertainment district rebels against the state of Tennessee's new 'guns in bars' bill.

The Beale Street Entertainment District fought legislation allowing guns in bars.

And now that the battle has been lost, they are making their own law - and planning to use metal detectors to make sure patrons aren't breaking it.

Officials said Wednesday that starting July 17th, no guns will be allowed on Beale Street. All clubs and businesses will post signs notifying patrons of the ban.

Police officers and private security guards will use handheld metal detectors to search patrons before allowing them inside the famous street's barricades.

Merchants will have to cover the cost, but they say it's worth it to maintain Beale Street's reputation as one of the country's safest entertainment districts.

John Elkington of Performa Entertainment says he wants to offer tourists and other patrons the opportunity to visit Beale without the fear of encountering armed citizens.

He says citizens with handguns should consider the barricaded street as one single, large establishment that does not allow guns.

"We understand a lot of people have different views than we have," said Elkington. "We happen to be in an urban area. We're not in Obion County, Tennessee. We're in a little different situation, so we're going to take whatever steps necessary to make sure that you're safe."

But not everyone agrees with the ban. One Action News 5 viewer writes:

"I hope Beale Street can survive without my business and a lot of my friends' business. As a law-abiding licensed to carry, believer of the Second Amendment, I shall exercise my right (as alot of others I know will) to not visit the area any more. You have to be a fool to walk Memphis streets day or night without personal protection."

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