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Press Releases

Sen. Jackson’s Guns-in-Bars Veto Override Speech

Transcript of Remarks by Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, May 27, 2010:

“Today, I rise for the second time to ask this Senate to override the veto of legislation that provides law-abiding citizens the right and ability to protect themselves in establishments across the state.

“Let me begin by saying, I respect the governor of the state of Tennessee. I respect the office that he holds, and the office which the people of Tennessee have allowed him to hold. I appreciate his good and accomplished service, and his accomplishments are considerable. However, on this issue, I respectfully submit the governor is wrong.

“In his veto notice, the governor says that Senate Bill 3012 lacks ‘basic safeguards for public safety.’ What are the safeguards to which the governor refers? It remains a mystery to all lawmakers.

“For two years, I have asked the administration to work with us on the provisions of this bill. This session, I asked the deputy governor and the director of legislative affairs to communicate with the bill sponsors and the committees on safeguards that the governor referenced last year in his veto announcement, safeguards that the executive branch would like to see contained within this bill. I directly asked the governor, personally, to work with us and communicate with us about what he would like to see in this legislation. To date, I have had no communication whatsoever with the administration about what provisions this bill should or should not have in the view of the executive branch.

“If the governor believes the legislation poses a threat to public safety, then I believe we could all agree that communication should have occurred between the executive branch and the legislative branch, as it has on hundreds of other issues this session, many of which dealt with issues far less important than public safety.

“Since the only communication from the executive branch has been the veto notice that was disseminated to the public and the media and to each of us, I have taken the time to read it very carefully. Frankly, the veto notice contains clichés and conclusions, but I ask the members to look at it closely for what you do not see, because the veto notice is totally void of facts, data, statistics or information of any kind to substantiate the position of the executive branch. It shares no evidence that supports his decision to veto.

“For example, the veto notice states that ‘Guns and alcohol do not mix.’ A truism. I completely agree, as does every member of this Senate, which is why Senate Bill 3012 makes it a crime for a permit holder to consume a single drop of alcohol and for enhanced consequences should a permit holder fall under the influence of alcohol. If the governor submits that a permit holder having dinner in a restaurant that serves alcohol results in more gun crime, then should he not share the evidence of that with this Senate and the House? We have asked for some information; it has not been produced.

“The veto notice implies the bill lacks ‘common sense.’ Ladies and gentlemen, the ‘common sense’ argument is usually employed when the evidence is best ignored. And when the evidence in favor of Senate Bill 3012 is so compelling, I can understand why critics would choose to ignore that evidence. This General Assembly examined the evidence very carefully and very thoroughly. And based on evidence, not emotion, the legislation has passed the House and the Senate with bipartisan, super-majority votes last year and this year.

“The veto letter attempts to fuel emotion and fear by describing the legislation as reckless and dangerous. Again, there is no evidence to support such inflammatory descriptions, which I submit is intended only to fuel opposition to the bill and create fear within the public.

“In 1997, the General Assembly passed a law requiring the issuance of a permit to any citizen who completes a training course, passes a practical and written test, submits an application under oath with a photograph and fingerprints, and then passes a criminal background check. Those who were in the legislature at that time can remember the outcry from critics of the legislation, including many in the news media, who characterized the legislation as the ‘Wild West Bill’ and predicted bloodshed in the street and great harm to public safety. They described that bill as reckless and lacking in common sense. Today, we know that those critics were wrong. With over 300,000 permits now issued or processed in the state of Tennessee, and that number increasing by approximately 5,000 a month, with a 40 percent increase in Davidson County in the last two years, we have a clear record of safety and responsibility that is irrefutable – a record that goes back 13 years. Tennessee’s good experience is shared by the millions of permit holders in 45 states which issue permits. Now, those states extend from Vermont to Alaska, Texas to Minnesota, California – every state surrounding the state of Tennessee but one allows permit holders to carry in establishments that serve alcohol.

“And yet, the experience in those states has not been bad. The experience has been very positive. Law-abiding citizens have now proven that they can be trusted, that the problem is not law-abiding citizens with guns; the problem is criminals with guns. The problem is not the gun. It’s who has the gun.

“Since 1997, Tennessee’s permit holders have been allowed to be armed in most places such as streets, sidewalks, office buildings, grocery stores and markets, malls and most restaurants. You can go to Shoney’s, Cracker Barrel, McDonald’s, Burger King or just your favorite diner out in the country. Permit holders have been dining with our constituents for many, many years, and I bet your experience has been the same as mine. I have never had a complaint from a single citizen because a permit holder made them feel uncomfortable. Not a one.

“In 1980, only about 6 states were shall-issue permit states. Today, that number is about 45. As those permit laws were debated over the years, critics, the media and some criminologists often claimed that good citizens could not be trusted, and that more crime would result from such laws. Over time, the debate among criminologists has narrowed. I challenge the news media to show me differently. The debate today is not whether permit laws result in an increase in crime. The debate is whether they have no effect on rates crime, or they reduce rates of crime. It’s between no effect and good effect. No one argues that the permit laws across the country have resulted in more crime, because as millions of permits have been issued, we have seen the crime rate in this country plummet. Sort of a remarkable idea, isn’t it? You let law-abiding people defend themselves when they feel the need for that, and crime levels fall.

“This legislation will allow permit holders to lawfully enter establishments that serve alcohol, such as O’Charley’s or Ruby Tuesday, provided the owner has not posted the property and provided the permit holder not consume a single drop of alcohol. Again, lawmakers have looked at the evidence before voting on the legislation. The facts reveal that in the 40 or so states that allow permit holders to enter establishments that serve alcohol, the laws in those states have not resulted in an increased rate of violent crime. To assume that permit holders will suddenly become lawbreakers when they enter an establishment where alcohol is served not only defies common sense, but it defies clear evidence provided by the real-world experience of most states in this country over many, many years. By the way, every state bordering Tennessee except North Carolina allows permit holders to enter establishments where alcohol is served. Florida, while not a bordering state, has allowed this for 22 years. The evidence is available, the experience is clear.

“Critics have gone so far as to claim that this law will tarnish our economy, that it will drive tourism away from the state of Tennessee. Well, where will it go? Most states have a law in place that is the same or similar to what is being proposed in Tennessee. Tennessee is not leading the way on this issue. Tennessee is one of the last states to follow.

“No one is advocating that everyone should carry a gun. But I do advocate that every good, honest, law-abiding citizen should have the choice to do so. The right to self-defense is a right that transcends any Constitution or any law. Can we call ourselves free if government attempts to arbitrarily dictate how, when, where or even if citizens can defend themselves? Should not government have to establish a compelling reason to restrict fundamental rights? If not, if your answer to that question is no, then can you call it a right? So I ask: What evidence exists to justify governmental restriction on this issue? You will not find the answer to that in the veto answer from the administration.

“Every day, as we watch the news and hear about terrible crimes – murders, rapes, assaults, home invasions – we sometimes forget about the victims and the victims’ families. In many neighborhoods, gangs and violent crimes are pervasive. They’re a part of neighborhood life. Remember: Many good and honest citizens must live next to criminals and thugs and drug dealers and gangs. They’ve got to go to work in the dark and they return home in the dark, and they’ve got to secure themselves behind barred windows and security doors. Why would we tolerate any law that makes it more difficult for good citizens to carry a defensive weapon, if a good citizen believes it’s necessary for their defense or defense of family?

“Crime can occur anywhere. Does it matter to critics of this legislation that a woman is 2.5 times less likely to be injured or killed when confronted with violence if that woman is armed? Does it matter that an armed citizen is almost never harmed or killed when forced by dire circumstance to display a firearm when confronted by violent crime? The evidence shows that the criminal stops aggressing. Why would we keep laws in place that require good citizens to disarm, increasing their chances of becoming a victim?

“Senate Bill 3012 is about defending a fundamental right under the state and federal Constitution, the citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. It is about trust of law-abiding citizens. It is about individual choice and responsibility. It is about respecting the good citizen’s right of self-defense. It is about acknowledging that laws only apply to the citizens who obey the laws, not the criminals. In spite of the excellent record of safety and responsibility established by good, honest citizens across this country and across this state, the veto message of the Governor says, ’I do not trust you, and I do not need evidence to support my position. I simply don’t trust you. I veto this because I can.’

“The Governor has asked the legislature to re-think the issue. I respectfully ask the executive branch to ‘think’ the issue, and I ask for your support on Senate Bill 3012.”

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Liberty and Justice News

Guns-in-Bars Bill Going to the Guv

Approved by the state House Wednesday night, legislation to allow permit-holders to carry firearms into establishments that serve alcohol is headed to the governor’s desk.

The measure passed 66-31 House Wednesday night. The Senate approved the legislation 23-9 last week.

If the legislation, SB3012, becomes law, it would replace a similar measure that was deemed by a judge last year as being unconstitutional because it was too vague.

Bredesen vetoed last year’s bill, but the Legislature overrode him.

Earlier during House floor debate, an amendment failed on a 60-36 vote that would have banned any weapons from being taken into establishments that derive more than 50 percent of their revenue from alcohol rather than food.

As approved, the legislation would allow owners of establishments who do not want handgun permit holders to bring their weapons into their businesses to post signs that would ban guns. They would be able to do so either by hanging up signs at entrances using the universal red circle-and-slash or by posting up a copy of the actual law.

If an establishment owner allowed guns into the business, and a handgun permit holder was caught drinking, a violation would be a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

The sharpest criticism of the bill came from Rep. Joe McCord, R-Maryville, who said he is a member of the National Rifle Association, and indicated he felt unwanted pressure from the gun-group to vote for the bill.

“Essentially, the NRA is saying to us, ‘If you don’t support and vote for carrying guns in bars, we will not endorse you and in fact oppose you,'” said McCord.

“This line of reasoning is bordering on lunacy,” he continued. “The NRA is not right here, and we’re not standing up to them. It makes me wonder what line will we not cross for the NRA? At what point do we say, ‘This is too much?”

Rep. Henry Fincher, D-Cookeville, responded, “We have made a choice in this state to trust our handgun permit holders.”

“When we draw imaginary lines on the ground and say, ‘We trust you here, handgun permit holder, but we don’t trust you there, handgun permit holder,’ we are doing nothing but creating pleasing fiction. Gun-free zones are a fiction. Columbine High School was a was a gun-free zone. The school in Knoxville was a gun-free zone. Criminals, felons, killers, don’t care about imaginary lines.”

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Press Releases

Guns-in-Bars Bill Clears Senate

Press Release from Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, April 29, 2010:

Bill allows permit holders to carry weapons in establishments that serve alcohol

NASHVILLE – The State Senate passed a bill Thursday 23-9 sponsored by Sen. Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) to allow handgun carry permit holders to take their weapons into establishments that serve alcohol.

“This version of the legislation will provide law-abiding citizens the opportunity to responsibly and legally exercise their Second Amendment rights while allowing business owners to run their establishments as they like,” Jackson said.

The bill (SB3012) allows handgun carry permit holders to legally take their weapons into establishments where alcohol is served. The Senate version passed Thursday would make illegal the consumption of alcohol while carrying a firearm, and allows business owners to ban guns completely from their premises by posting clear, specific public notice.

The bill creates a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum $2,500 fine and/or up to a year in jail, if a person is found to be consuming alcohol while in possession of a handgun. An amendment sponsored by Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson) would revoke a permit holder’s permit for three years if he or she were found to be intoxicated while in possession of a handgun.

Possession of a handgun in an establishment that bans guns would result in a $500 fine.

“This bill will lower the barrier to law-abiding citizens to carry their firearms during the course of a normal day, and will give them an opportunity to defend themselves if necessary,” Jackson said. “The record of safety and responsibility among millions of handgun carry permit holders across the country is simply undeniable. Law-abiding citizens should not be disarmed. The only people who like that idea are criminals.”

The House version of the bill is expected to reach a floor vote soon.

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Business and Economy Liberty and Justice

New Guns-in-Bars Bill Survives Tight Subcommittee Vote

A rewrite of last year’s law to allow firearms permit-holders to carry weapons in certain establishments that serve alcohol advanced in the state House Wednesday.

The 8-7 vote in the Budget Subcommittee came after an amendment was defeated that would have granted local governments authority to set aside state law and ban guns in such establishments.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said he wants to reconfigure the law passed last year over the veto of Gov. Phil Bredesen so that it addresses a Davidson County judge’s declaration last year that it is unconstitutionally vague.

“All this bill does is shore up what the judge ruled,” he said.

Among the critics of the bill was Speaker Emeritus Jimmy Naifeh, D-Covington, who offered the local option amendment.

“We do spend more time on gun bills than we do on looking out for the children of this state – without question,” he said.

While Naifeh acknowledged restaurants could post signs banning weapons under the legislation, he said that if one restaurant posts signs and the one next door does not, a restaurant would be at a competitive disadvantage.

Naifeh then offered the local option amendment, saying, “We normally allow our local governments to have a say-so in issues of this magnitude.”

While Naifeh presented the amendment as a compromise, Todd was skeptical.

“This is just another way to defeat this bill – allowing a local option,” he said.

Naifeh’s amendment got shot down 6-9.

The measure now heads to the House Finance Committee, which meets next week.

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Business and Economy Liberty and Justice News

Guns-in-Restaurants Do-Over Advances

A bill to rewrite the law that allows gun permit holders to carry their weapons in bars and restaurants passed a House subcommittee Wednesday and is now headed for consideration by the Judiciary Committee.

Under the law passed last year by the General Assembly, permit holders are allowed to bring a gun into certain establishments that serve alcohol, so long as the business owner has not posted a sign banning firearms from the premises.

The current law was struck down last year by a Davidson County judge who declared it unconstitutionally vague.

While that decision is being challenged, bill sponsor Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, hopes rewriting the law now will render the appeal moot.

“This changes what has to be posted” by business owners who wish to legally prohibit people from carrying weapons on their property, he said. “(The law) was very vague and unclear earlier.”

This new bill, he said, “makes it uniform.”

Dan Haskell, a lobbyist for the Tennessee Hospitality Association, was the only person who spoke against the measure during the committee hearing.

“Last year, you passed a bill to allow carrying handguns in places where food was served in context with alcoholic beverages,” he said. “This bill permits you to carry your handgun any place where beer or alcohol is served for consumption in the premises – every bar, every roadhouse, every beer joint in the state. This is a lot larger bill.”

“In the hospitality business, the last thing we want to do is put a sign on the doors about guns,” he continued. “It doesn’t seem very hospitable to us. In large, complicated facilities like an Opryland Hotel or in a convention center, you’ve got hundreds of entrances and exits, all of which would have to have this sign posted on them.”

Haskell also said the bill “can be read to say those who have liquor licenses are no longer permitted to post.”

Todd downplayed Haskell’s concerns. “This bill is very clear — clear on what the judge ruled,” he said.

And opponents of the law are “not going to be happy with any bill — no matter what it says,” he added.

Other committee members voiced agreement with Todd, who said those given legal protection to carry weapons under his bill “are responsible gun owners.”

“I have yet to talk to an officer on the street who is not supportive of this legislation,” said Rep. Eddie Bass, D-Prospect, who is a retired sheriff. “I have never in 20 years had a problem with a gun permit holder.”

Added Rep. Barrett Rich, R-Somerville, “The honest citizens of Tennessee should not be rendered defenseless.”

Currently, someone who violates the law is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, a person’s license to carry a gun can be revoked.

Todd also agreed to a request by the subcommittee’s chairman, Eric Watson, R-Cleveland, to consider increasing the penalties for violating the law in the future.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ben West, D-Hermitage announced that he would not pursue passage of a bill to grant permit holders permission to carry a firearm in public parks and other public recreational facilities, nor will he continue pushing a bill this session that would allow a permit holder to carry their weapon on school grounds as long as it remained the permit holder’s vehicle and is not handled.

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Business and Economy Environment and Natural Resources Liberty and Justice News

Ramsey Wants New Guns-in-Restaurants Legislation

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said last week that he supports moving legislation this session to clarify a Tennessee gun law that was struck down by a Nashville judge last fall.

Both Ramsey, R-Blountville, and last year’s guns-in-restaurants chief bill-sponsor — Sen. Doug Jackson, D-Dickson — want to alter the existing law to fix any ambiguities that led to the judge’s ruling, rather than waiting for the case to run its course through appeals courts.

“If we wait on the courts, it could be months, if not a year, so I think we need to move forward with it,” Ramsey said Friday. He added that he also supports “stiffening penalties for people who carry guns into places where they are not allowed.”

Enacted last year over the veto of Gov. Phil Bredesen, Tennessee’s guns-in-restaurants law allows firearm-carry permit-holders to posses their weapons in alcohol-serving eating establishments that meet certain caveats. In particular, the law declares that for customers to legally pack heat in an establishment, it must derive more than 50 percent of its income from food, rather than the sale of booze.

However, Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman declared in November that the law is “fraught with ambiguity.” Calculating an establishment’s food-versus-liquor sales breakdown isn’t something citizens could reasonably be expected to determine for themselves, said Bonnyman.

Before the 2009 General Assembly made it legally permissible for non-drinking, permit-holding patrons to carry firearms, state law unequivocally banned pistol packing anywhere beer and cocktails were served.

Ramsey’s inclination to move a rewritten guns-in-restaurants bill contrasts with that stated recently by House Speaker Kent Williams, R-Elizabethton.

Williams was reported last week to have indicated his preference to “see (the case) just go through the courts first,” and that he didn’t want to “spend a lot of time in session dealing with an issue and then it turns out we didn’t need to do it.”

Both Ramsey and Jackson dismissed claims by Nashville and Memphis tourism promoters that the guns-in-restaurant law is scaring off would-be visitors to Tennessee.

“Nobody has seen any ill effects from this,” Jackson said. “Just like nobody saw any ill effects in Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia or any of the 38 other states that allow gun-owners with permits to carry where alcohol is served. Florida has had their law in effect for more than 20 years, and I don’t think it has done great harm to their tourism.”

Added Ramsey, “I’d like to see those numbers to show that it’s hurting tourism. I think (the claims) are mostly just hypothetical.”

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Liberty and Justice News

Senator Set to Reload in Guns-and-Booze Battle

The chief Senate advocate for allowing legally permitted handgun carriers to possess their firearms in certain eating establishments where alcohol is served said he’s close to unveiling “a general improvement on the law” for the coming session.

While the language is still in draft phase, the changes that Sen. Doug Jackson says he and fellow co-sponsors plan to propose for the guns-in-restaurants law will clarify some key issues of contention and address the constitutional worries a Nashville judge outlined in a ruling last month.

“If somebody is concerned about vagueness, that is going to be addressed,” Jackson, a Democrat from Dickson, said Friday morning.

In a Nov. 20 bench ruling, Davidson County Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman took aim at the Tennessee Legislature’s recent firearms-law adjustment, saying it was “fraught with ambiguity.”

Before the 2009 General Assembly made it legally permissible for a non-drinking gun-permit holder to carry in certain businesses where both food and alcohol was sold,  state law unequivocally banned pistol packing anywhere beer and cocktails were served.

Bonnyman said she had specific problems with a new provision that states, “the serving of…meals shall be the principal business conducted” in order that handguns might be allowed on the property.

“The new exception of the prohibition against firearms where alcohol is served creates ambiguity where none existed before, and is vague on its face in that it fails to satisfy the constitutional standards of fair warning and fair enforcement,” said the judge.

Furthermore, she added, police officers “are no better suited to make the difficult judgment call as to whether the serving of meals constitutes the principle business of an establishment, such that the presence of a handgun on the premises would be legal or illegal.”

Beyond clearing up the uncertainties Bonnyman outlined, Jackson said the bill-language he plans to introduce will also clarify what sort of signage a restaurant-owner should post to avoid any legal confusion as to whether guns are permitted in the place of business.

Every establishment-owner has the “preeminent right” to ban guns if he or she chooses, and violators are subject to $500 fines, said Jackson.

“We’re going to address that issue head on,” said Jackson. “We want the property owners to know what is an effective posting. And by the same token, we also don’t want the permit holders to be guessing what is, or is not, an effective posting.”

In his view, Jackson said drawing distinctions between primarily eating establishments versus 21-and-over bars and taverns is mostly just an effort “to create standards of behavior for people who legally carry guns.”

“What we’re doing is regulating law abiding citizens,” he said. “As to whether those regulations are necessary, there is a debate, but I would suggest that if you look around the country at all the states and all the body of law, what you are going to find is that law-abiding citizens simply are not the problem.”

He predicted the Legislature “will act quickly and decisively” in 2010 to pass revisions to the guns-in-restaurants law.

“I suspect there will be a lot of support, just like there was last year,” Jackson said. “We’ll address the judge’s ruling, and then we’ll move on to bigger issues.”

Opponents of the law – which was approved over the veto of Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen – promise another tough fight ahead and say a recent Middle Tennessee State University poll showing 60 percent of state residents opposes allowing guns in restaurants, and 80 percent oppose guns in bars, indicates the general public does not support the new law.

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Press Releases

NRA: Restaurant Gun-Carry Ruling A Setback for Tennessee

This press release was issued by the National Rifle Association on Nov. 23, 2009:

Fairfax, Va. – Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman of the Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tennessee ruled last week that Tennessee’s restaurant carry law is unconstitutionally vague because of a perceived ambiguity over the state’s definition of restaurants. This law gave right-to-carry permit holders the chance to defend themselves from criminal attack while in a restaurant.

“This ruling is a setback for Tennessee’s law-abiding concealed carry permit holders,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “We strongly urge Attorney General Robert Cooper to defend the Tennessee statute and appeal this unwise ruling.”

HB 962, Tennessee’s Restaurant Carry legislation, passed both the House and Senate with broad bipartisan support, but Governor Phil Bredesen vetoed the bill on May 28, disappointing more than 200,000 right-to-carry permit holders in the state. While an override of the veto only needed a simple majority vote to pass, it cleared both chambers with overwhelming, bi-partisan support. This law went into effect in July of this year after the Tennessee House and Senate successfully overrode Gov. Bredesen’s veto of HB 962. Tennessee joined 35 other states which recognize the right to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol when it enacted this legislation into law.

This law is crucial because crimes do occur in restaurants. On April 2, 2009, Benjamin Felix Goeser was gunned down at Jonny’s Sports Bar on Nolensville Road in Nashville. His wife, Nicole Goeser, has a right-to-carry permit, but she had to keep her gun locked in the car because of Tennessee law. Mrs. Goeser actively lobbied for the passage of this measure.

“Right-to-carry permit holders in Tennessee need to be aware that the chancery court’s regrettable and incorrect decision effectively suspends the law the legislature enacted and that they should not carry in restaurants until this litigation is resolved on appeal,” concluded Cox. “The NRA will continue to fight on behalf of our members, permit holders and victims of crime until this reasonable self-defense measure is restored as Tennessee law.”

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

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Environment and Natural Resources Liberty and Justice News

‘Guns-in-Bars’ Law Shot Down – For Now

A judge in Nashville on Friday triggered renewed debate over a controversial issue that fired up a range of competing interests during the 2009 Tennessee legislative session.

Davidson County Trial Court Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman declared on Friday that a recent change in law to allow non-drinking patrons to carry firearms in bars is so “fraught with ambiguity” as to be essentially indecipherable, and therefore unconstitutional.

Her legal finding likely reloads the topic to become a political flashpoint again in 2010.

Opponents of the law hailed Bonnyman’s ruling as “common sense.” Supporters promised to “reword the law” to ensure that it passes future legal muster.

Enacted over the veto of Gov. Phil Bredesen, the law allows permit-holding firearm carriers to posses their weapons in alcohol-serving eating establishments that meet certain caveats. In particular, the law declares that an establishment must derive more than 50 percent of its income from food, rather than the sale of booze, for customers to legally pack heat.

However, to the judge’s way of looking at the suit, which was filed by a group of restaurant and bar owners, calculating an establishment’s food-versus-liquor sales breakdown isn’t something citizens could reasonably be expected to determine for themselves.