Tennessee guns in bars law in effect

TIPTON COUNTY, TN (WMC-TV) - The first day of a new law that allows handguns in Tennessee bars and restaurants was met with opposition from some establishments' owners.

The law, which allows guns to be carried in places that serve alcohol, took effect Tuesday. Guns may not be on the menu, but gun advocates said they were looking forward to Tennessee restaurants allowing guns.

"I believe we would be safer - the establishment would be safer - if people were allowed to bring a weapon in," gun supporter Earnestine Walk said.

Others said guns will only create problems.

"I wouldn't have my children or family in a restaurant where people are walking in and out with guns," Steven Eubanks said. "I don't think other people would either."

While it has become legal for people with valid handgun-carry permits to go armed into restaurants serving alcohol, some say alcohol and guns just don't mix.

"What if somebody gets into a fight in a restaurant and they want to shoot each other?" Carina Lewis asked.

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Davidson County Chancery Court sought an injunction to try to stop implementation of the law, but Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled Monday against blocking it.

However, she set a hearing in 90 days to further discuss plaintiffs' arguments that the law is constitutionally vague.

Meanwhile, many bar and restaurant owners are already taking steps to prohibit the weapons by using a provision of the law that allows them to post signs saying guns are not allowed.  However, restaurant managers like Ray Roach don't seem to have a problem with the new law.

"They have a right to protect themselves, but to a certain extent use your right judgment and mind about it when you do it," Roach said.

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