(WMC)- "Guns are welcome" signs are being posted at many Tennessee restaurants across the state. Owners are hoping the signs will show they support the right to carry while they keep their establishments family friendly.
The signs have created a big debate and Tennessee restaurant owners from Memphis to Maryville are speaking out.
Sharma Floyd says her restaurant, Shiloh Brew and Chew in Maryville, was on the verge of going out of business when she read an article about a North Carolina restaurant that put up a sign telling customers it is OK to bring your gun.
"I can honestly say I've gotten way more support than the one person who really gave me a lot of grief over it," Floyd said.
While her customers are not allowed to bring in their guns and drink liquor, those with legal weapons and do not drink are.
Since she put up the signs Floyd's business has increased to the point where she had to hire more employees.
Bob Henry, owner of Barksdale's restaurant in Midtown Memphis, is a gun owner himself. While he does not have a "Guns are Welcome" sign at his business, he has no problem with other restaurants doing it.
"As a hand carry person myself, you're most vulnerable for a robbery between your vehicle and the front door," Henry said.
However he draws the line when it comes to restaurants where liquor is served.
Alcohol and guns don't mix no matter how well trained. Just doesn't matter, judgments impaired, things could go wrong," Henry added.
A growing number of smaller restaurants and other businesses around Tennessee are ordering up gun welcome signs.
Places from self-defense schools and martial arts studios, owners like Henry feel it is their right.
"I think everybody, we have a right to bear arms. If you're properly trained, you're not impaired, I'm good with it," Henry said.
Patrons may begin to see an interesting trend develop from those gun welcome signs.
The owner of the Maryville Restaurant has even gone to the point of ordering T-shirts and coffee mugs that say guns are welcome.