A Nashville server has come up with an interesting strategy to try to reign in the proliferation of guns in public places. The server has filed a complaint with the state alleging that the mixture of guns and bars creates an unsafe work environment. The server, who remains anonymous, works at Jackson’s Bar and Bistro. The complaint alleges that it is a violation of Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations to allow permit holders to carry guns into places that serve alcohol, such as Jackson’s.
A Nashville judge ruled last year that a law allowing guns only in establishments that primarily sold food in addition to alcohol was unconstitutionally vague. In response, the General Assembly passed a new law allowing permit holders to carry into any establishment that serves alcohol. The new law allowing guns in establishments that serve alcohol provides restaurant owners the choice to post a sign prohibiting firearms, but Jackson’s elected not to do so.
Our local gun battle has been on the campuses of the two large state universities, University of Colorado (CU) and Colorado State University (CSU). CU banned guns in 1970 but allowed students to keep weapons in campus police lockers. After the Concealed Carry Act was passed in 2003, the CU regents asked then-Attorney General Ken Salazar whether the act applied to CU and he ruled it did not.
The CU ban went unchallenged until December 2008, when the lawsuit was filed in the wake of the fatal Virginia Tech shootings. The challenge to the ban went to the state appeals court, where it ruled that CU had violated the state’s Concealed Carry Act, which allows those in possession of a concealed-carry permit to carry a firearm in any public place in Colorado, except for K-12 schools and a few other federal and public buildings. The appeals court made its ruling in April and the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to appeal a lower court decision that said the school violated state law with its campus ban of concealed weapons in June.
CSU passed a gun ban in February, but pulled back its gun ban, in response to the appeals court ruling in the CU case.
Perhaps the university professors will carry the day with an “unsafe work environment” argument. With more than 70 CU faculty members signing a letter requesting that the Regents pursue the case through the courts and maintain the gun ban on campus, there may be keen interest in the success of the Jackson Bar server’s claim.