Handguns Will Be Allowed in Tennessee Bars and Restaurants

Handguns will be permitted in bars and restaurants in Tennessee starting next month after a new law was passed — but many venue owners plan to ignore it.

The law, which takes effect July 14, comes after state legislators voted to override the governor's veto.

The legislation retains an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a handgun, and restaurant owners can still opt to ban weapons from their establishments.

Already, some are sounding off about the passage of the law. In Memphis, many bar owners are appalled by new legislation and are posting signs in their windows making it clear that weapons aren't allowed inside, despite what will soon become legal in the state.

"I do not think they mix well," Benny Carter, owner of Murphy's in Midtown Memphis, told FOX 13 in Memphis. "I don't think anybody does. I don't think I'm alone as a bar owner and proprietor."

Thirty-seven other states have similar laws.

The state Senate voted 21-9 on Thursday against Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen's veto, a day after the House also voted 69-27 to override.

They overrode critics, including Bredesen, who said it's a bad idea to have guns and alcohol in close proximity.

Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson, the main sponsor of the bill, said state Safety Department records show handgun permit holders in Tennessee are responsible.

Of the roughly 218,000 handgun permit holders in Tennessee, 278 had their permits revoked last year, records show. Since 2005, state records shows nearly 1,200 people have lost their permits.

Revocations are issued for felony convictions, while permits can be suspended for pending criminal charges or for court orders of protection.

Sen. Andy Berke was the only senator to speak against overriding the veto Thursday.

"I believe that we should follow the governor and rethink what we have done," he said.

The law, which was supported by the National Rifle Association, has been successful in other states, its chief lobbyist said.

"Of those 37 states, not one state has attempted to repeal or amend those statutes because they've been successful," Chris Cox said.

Bredesen spokeswoman Lydia Lenker said after Wednesday's House vote that the Democratic governor expected an override when he vetoed the legislation last week.

Following Thursday's Senate vote, Bredesen, who is a gun owner and hunter, reiterated his stance to reporters.

"I still think I'm right," he said. "I still think that guns in bars is a very bad idea. It's an invitation to a disaster."

Click here for more on this story from MyFOXMemphis.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.