Restaurant owners unhappy about new gun law

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, 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.

The law has left a bad taste in the mouth of many Memphis-area restaurant owners, leading some to take action.

Tuesday, signs that read "No Guns" were being printed at Fast Signs in Midtown.  The signs, ordered by the Memphis Area Restaurant Association, will be provided to member restaurants for placement on their doors.

"We have ordered the signs," said Ben McLean of the Soul Fish Cafe.  "They should be delivered in the next two days to put on the window next to the door."

Mike Miller, president of the Memphis Restaurant Association and owner of Patrick's Restaurant, says the law allowing firearms in businesses that sell alcohol is bad legislation.  Many of the Association's member restaurants apparently agree.

"At least 80 percent of the membership told me they intend to post," he said.

He says it is not safe to have customers with guns.

"We don't want guns because it's a family establishment, and we feel we just don't need guns around a family environment," he said.

Miller says restaurant owners will likely have their insurance premiums increased because of the gun legislation.

"Now, there's more of a chance of a gun incident happening in our restaurant," he said.

Even though Miller has a No Guns sign on his restaurant, he says it could give the impression you are guaranteeing a safe environment.  He fears if something does happen in a restaurant with such a sign, a restaurant owner could be held liable.

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