The Associated Press May 6, 2010, 10:59AM ET

Guns in bars bill headed to Tenn. governor

A Tennessee proposal that would allow permit holders to bring their handguns into establishments that serve alcohol is headed to the governor for his consideration after the House approved the measure.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville was approved 66-31 on Wednesday. The Senate passed the proposal 23-9 last week.

The House bill conformed to the Senate version after an amendment was defeated that would effectively exclude bars from the measure by requiring establishments to ban guns when they make less than 50 percent of their revenue from food.

Democratic Rep. John Deberry of Memphis voted for the proposal but believes it sets a bad precedent.

"We're going to see more and more individuals settling their arguments with a gun," Deberry said.

The legislation would allow any owner to ban guns at their establishments. But the measure also seeks to standardize the signs owners would have to post.

Last year's law was opposed by the state's police chiefs, sheriffs and restaurant industry. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the bill, but both chambers easily voted for an override.

It's uncertain if Bredesen will approve the legislation.

Nashville Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman ruled in November that the law was "fraught with ambiguity." The previous law sought to exclude establishments that predominantly serve alcohol, but Tennessee makes no legal distinction between bars and restaurants.


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