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With Sen. Doug Jackson castigating the state's newspapers for their coverage of the issue, the Senate voted 21-9 a few minutes ago to join the House in overriding the governor's veto of the guns-in-bars bill. But here is our question, dear Pith
reader: Before a vote that was a foregone conclusion, why did Jackson spend so much time defending his bill? Is it possible someone has polled and discovered guns-in-bars isn't so overwhelmingly popular?
"We've taken a lot in the news media over this, and I've had a lot of pent-up opinions that I've wanted to express," Jackson said, giving his own explanation for his diatribe.
He accused the media of creating public hysteria over his bill, saying they failed to report that many Tennessee law officers are on his side or that other states have experienced few problems by allowing guns in bars.
"The press has portrayed this as guns in bars, guns in bars, guns in bars," he said. Yet, he asked, how many times did the media write about the safety records of other states? "Not once, not that that I have found."
He claimed reporters have refused to tell the story of Nikki Goeser
, whose husband Ben was shot to death in a Nashville sports bar a couple of months ago. Nikki Goeser has since maintained that she might have saved her husband's life if she'd been able to carry her handgun with her into the bar. Goeser was in the Senate gallery today.
Jackson claimed Nashville police officers have told Goeser they support guns in bars but are afraid to publicly say so because they fear they'll lose their jobs. Police Chief Ronal Serpas has become an outspoken opponent of the law.
"We believe law-abiding citizens should have the right of self-defense," Jackson said. "When government can restrict your right whenever governments thinks you don't need it, it's no longer a right."