NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Beginning next month, Tennesseans with handgun carry permits will be allowed to carry their guns into bars and restaurants where alcohol is served.
Thursday morning, lawmakers voted to override Governor Phil Bredesen's veto of the "Guns in Bars" bill.
The override comes at a time when more and more people are already getting gun permits.
Buford Tune, of the Academy of Personal Protection and Security, said he's seen a 60% to 70% increase in the number of people seeking a carry permit since October 2008.
"There is a robbery, a rape, a murder, there's something all the time, and people are seeing this," he told News 2.
According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, there were 191,000 permitted gun owners in the state by January 2008.
One year later, it rose to 218,000.
The latest number from April of this year shows 222,000 are allowed to carry guns in the state.
While the reasons for obtaining a permit vary, common threads are self-protection and the fear of tighter gun control.
"There are a lot of bad rumors out there about gun control that we have to calm," said Tune.
There may also be more interest in obtaining a carry permit now that the "Guns in Bars" bill, also known as the "Restaurant Carry" bill, will soon take effect.
On July 14, people who hold a gun carry permit can bring their guns into a restaurant or bar, as long as they're not drinking alcohol.
Restaurant owners can still keep guns out of their establishments by simply posting a sign that says "no guns allowed."
Tune said he supports the bill.
"I have a right to protect myself, and if you're going to take that away, I have a right to go somewhere else and spend my money," he said.
Tune teaches a course that allows gun owners to obtain a carry permit.
In order to get a permit, an eight-hour class is required.
Tune's class costs $99 and includes 10 hours in the classroom and six hours at the firing range.
For more information on classes, visit the Academy of Personal Protection and Security's Web site.
441 Murfreesboro Road Nashville, TN 37210