The Avenue

Guns in Bars

The hot new law of the year has been on the books in Tennessee since July. The right to bring a concealed weapon, with a carry permit, into an establishment that serves alcohol put lawmakers, bar owners, gun owners and fearful citizens in a series of roller-coaster debates the weeks before and after the law was passed.
According to the Tennessee Government’s online site, the original document’s wording of the law states an individual is “authorized to carry a firearm under §39-17-1351 who is not consuming beer, wine or any alcoholic beverage, and is within the confines of a restaurant that is open to the public and serves alcoholic beverages, wine or beer.”
To be fair, establishments were given the choice to put a notice on their doors as to whether they wanted to have their place of business gun friendly. The law still stands in effect that a person with a gun in a bar cannot be served alcoholic drinks. So in effect, you can be sober in a bar with your gun, or engage in drinks without the comfort of a handgun in your pocket. You cannot have a gun or weapon in your possession without a permit and you cannot bring a shotgun, rifle or any large gun into a bar or restaurant.
In Murfreesboro, there are many bars and restaurants affected by the new law. The chances of seeing a gun pulled out in a family-oriented restaurant, even with alcohol served, is less likely than going to a popular bar on a Saturday night. But what are the chances that you could be in a gun-friendly bar if there is no sign on the door indicating so?
The Boro Bar and Grill does not have a sign but will not let anyone in who has been obviously drinking and carrying a weapon.
“It is usually a case by case thing,” said bar owner Lee Roberts. “It is fine if a person is coming in and just getting food to have something on them but it is not OK if they want to order drinks.”
The mindset is the same with other bars in the area. Mark’s Campus Pub and the two locations of Gentleman Jim’s do not have the “no gun” sign but care about the well-being of their customers.
“We don’t condone any violence here and nothing has changed,” said daytime bartender Steven Campbell of the East Main Jim’s. “It’s a college crowd here at nights and I wouldn’t think they would be carrying guns anyway.”
Further up town on the square, the bars have similar standings. Liquid Smoke does not have a sign saying no weapons allowed but does not condone violence either.
Wall Street does have two signs posted inside the venue which clearly state “No Weapons Allowed.”
“We got the signs up as soon as the law passed,” said manager Curt Minton. “We just don’t want any guns or weapons in the bar for safety reasons.”
Blue Rooster is currently in the process of having a “No Guns” sign made and will have it up and visible soon.
Duggers Food and Fun off Northfield also has a visible sign on the front window of the building.
“I think it is a good idea for them to have it, especially being in a shopping area where families are usually walking around,” said 35-year-old Larry Film, Dugger’s customer.
Bartenders and bar owners are more than willing to communicate with any customers with questions.
“When the law first passed it really bothered me and I wanted to know what was going on around me and what I could possibly walk in to,” said 21-year-old Mark Collins, a frequent customer of Gentleman Jim’s.
The option to pack heat in town has raised awareness with some while leaving others without an intense opinion. Either way, this law is in effect and if the thought of being around weapons is a bother, make sure to get information about where you are going and what is allowed.

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