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Tenn. panel recommends allowing guns where alcohol is served

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A Tennessee House panel recommends allowing people with handgun permits to carry their weapons into restaurants where alcohol is served until 11 p.m.


The proposal would maintain a ban on people carrying handguns from drinking alcohol. It would also continue to prohibit handguns at establishments that have age limits for entry.


Rep. Joe McCord, a Maryville Republican, said the intent is to allow handguns to be carried into restaurants that serve alcohol, but not into bars. The problem is that Tennessee does not have a legal definition of what makes a bar, he said.


"This is not the best way to fix this problem, but it is the simplest way," McCord said.


The Hand Gun Study Committee also recommended passage of measures to close public access to the state's handgun registry database and to allow handguns to be carried in parks and wildlife areas.


The panel agreed to the 11 p.m. curfew after Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, argued the time should be late enough to allow people to finish their dinner.


That time advanced over the objection of freshman Rep. Mike Stewart, a Nashville Democrat, who said 9 p.m. would have been more reasonable.


"Once you get into those late hours, that's precisely when you start to have where guns and alcohol mix poorly," he said.


Todd argued that his preference would have been for no time limit.


"You've got to keep in mind here that the criminal element, they don't have a timeframe," said Todd, a former Memphis policeman. "They're going to still carry, and they will shoot you."


"Come down to some of my areas, and I'll be glad take you all through them, and see if you want to go through there at 11 o'clock at night and walk to your car," he said.


A proposal to allow guns in bars passed in the Senate last year, but the House version was withdrawn by McCord to allow further study.


The gun bills are scheduled to be heard in a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.


Read HB0959, HB0960, HB0961 and HB0962 on the Legislature's Web site.




Ok folks call the critters and tell them that the bad guys don't obey laws or time limits. We demand the ability to legaly defend our self and out familys no matter what time it is or where we are. Maybe it would be easier for them to write law that defines bars.

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