Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has vetoed the so-called 'guns in bars' bill, placing it back into the hands of lawmakers who unanimously voted in favor of it earlier this month.The governor made the announcement at a news conference Thursday afternoon, joined by police chiefs and district attorneys from across the state.
The gun bill would have allowed handgun permit holders in the state to take their weapons into places that serve alcohol.The governor and Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas both spoke out strongly against the bill.Gov. Bredesen said he hated to even spend an hour on anything other than the state budget.He wants lawmakers to think long and hard before they try to override his veto. "I hope they do take some time over the weekend to think about this thing and come back," Gov. Bredesen said. Chief Serpas says guns in bars just "doesn't make sense any way you look at it." He says he has witnessed many videos of shooting inside bars and in every case, "someone else with a gun would not have made a difference... because these things happen in the blink of an eye."Senator Doug Jackson, D-Dickson, and Representative Curry Todd, R-Collierville, are sponsors of the bill.Todd had said earlier in the week that Gov. Bredesen was "setting up a showdown with lawmakers over all the gun bills," but that he had confidence that lawmakers could override the governor's veto.The governor usually has three options will every bill that is passed to him after being signed by both chambers. He can either sign it, let it become law without his signature, or veto it. The veto can be overridden by a simple majority in both houses.That is likely since the bill already passed overwhelmingly in both chambers. State lawmakers had passed the bill on May 14.Lawmakers agreed on a new version that removes an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and a ban on age-restricted establishments.They kept an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a handgun. Thirty-seven other states allow people to carry guns into bars. Even if the measure passes, bar owners keep guns out of their establishments by putting up a sign that says "No Guns Allowed."