Mayoral candidate Megan Barry has voted against the right to bear arms every time she has had the opportunity and has led the charge to ban guns from all establishments with a beer permit and from even the most remote undeveloped Davidson County park.
Tennessee allows only those with a valid handgun carry permit to carry a gun in a restaurant or bar and the armed person may not consume alcohol in the establishment and the bar or restaurant owner has the right to ban all guns from their establishment. That is not restrictive enough for Megan Barry. She attempted to ban guns from all restaurants and bars during her service in the council. She also attempted to ban guns not only from Nashville's urban parks but from the most remote wilderness parks in Davidson County.
In June 2009, Barry filed legislation that would require bars and restaurants to ban guns in order to get a permit from the beer board. (Metro Council Minutes, Jun. 16, 2009) This drew the ire of state lawmakers who argued that such legislation was outside the authority of local government.
Here is how it was reported in The City Paper, Jun. 8, 2009:
At-large Councilmembers Megan Barry and Charlie Tygard filed legislation Thursday aimed at outlawing guns in Davidson County bars and restaurants. The legislation would use the beer board as a tool to make outlawing firearms a condition of a permit. But in a press release sent Friday, Jackson said Tennessee code specifically puts regulation of firearms outside the purview of local government. Quoting from Tennessee Code Annotated 39-17-1314(a): "No city, county, or metropolitan government shall occupy any part of the field of regulation of the transfer, ownership, possession, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or combination thereof ..." Jackson (D-Dickson) said the recently passed law allowing guns in restaurants and bars already gives owners the right to post signs outlawing them. "There is no need to remove options from restaurant owners or interfere with the rights of law-abiding citizens by revoking beer permits and punishing restaurants," Jackson said.
Barry said the point of the Council legislation is to outlaw guns in bars and restaurants without establishment owners being forced to post signs.Barry and other co-sponsors were forced to withdraw their bill which would use the beer permitting process to ban guns from restaurants after city attorneys said it was probably illegal. Metro lawyers determined the state's firearms statute superseded the city's beer permit ordinance. "A court more likely than not would say it was the intent of the legislature to pre-empt our ability to do anything about it," Metro Law Director Sue Cain said.
In response to legislation passed and signed by Governor Bredesen which authorized persons with a valid handgun carry permit to carry guns in parks, Barry and others sponsored and passed legislation banning handguns from all Metro public parks. The state law had an opt out provision that allowed cities to ban handguns from some or all of their city parks. Some Council members and Second Amendment advocates argued in favor letting people with a valid handgun carry permit, carry handguns in the large, undeveloped parks like Beaman Park and Shelby Bottoms. Barry was not happy banning guns from just the crowded urban parks but wanted guns banned from them all. (Metro Council Minutes, Aug. 18, 2009) For more on this issue follow this link.