http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.as ... yid=128581
Voters oppose guns in restaurants
By Chas Sisk, The Tennessean
A law that allows handguns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol is proving to be unpopular with Tennesseans.
Seven in 10 voters said they oppose the law passed earlier this year that lets holders of handgun carry permits take their weapons into any establishment that sells alcohol. Supporters of the gun law say it will make the state safer, but voters said in interviews that the prospect of guns mixing with alcohol is too dangerous.
"No one wants them there," said Carol Yager, a Brentwood woman who took part in the poll taken by Mason-Dixon for Tennessee Newspaper Network and WBIR-TV.
The findings match the results of earlier polls taken by Middle Tennessee State University and on behalf of the state tourism industry, both of which showed widespread opposition to the law. Nonetheless, state lawmakers twice passed measures permitting guns in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in the last two years, both times over the veto of Gov. Phil Bredesen.
"You would think they (legislators) would vote the way their constituents want," said Will Cheek, a Nashville attorney who led a successful legal challenge to the first of the two gun laws. "I think the legislators are out of touch with the people."
A statistically equal portion of men and women were against the gun law, and opposition was even across the state's three grand divisions.
Eighty-two percent of Democrats and 71 percent of independents were opposed to the gun law, but a majority of Republicans, 59 percent, was against it as well.
David Deckard, a 59-year-old autoworker from Lynnville, said the law simply does not fit modern Tennessee.
"We're not living back in the 1800's," he said. "It's not like we're a bunch of cowboys. ... They need to leave their guns in their cars."
One of the law's sponsors, state Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, said the results were not convincing. He said pollsters should have pointed out that the law says people cannot drink while carrying, applies only to places that also serve food and can be preempted by restaurant owners who post a sign at their entrances barring handguns.
"You can get different poll results just based on how the question is proposed," he said. "I don't think it (the poll) is right. I think a majority of folks in the state of Tennessee don't have a problem with it."