published Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Arrest of Tennessee’s guns-in-bars law sponsor triggers controversy

  • photo
    This booking photo released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police shows state Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who was arrested late Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, on charges of drunken driving and possession of a gun while under the influence. Todd was a main sponsor of a Tennessee law to allow people with handgun carry permits to bring their guns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Nashville Police)
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Should Rep. Todd be stripped of his position as the Republican chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee?

NASHVILLE — The Tuesday night arrest of state Rep. Curry Todd, sponsor of Tennessee’s controversial guns-in-bars law, on DUI and handgun possession charges, quickly found its way into the political sphere today.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called on House GOP leaders to immediately strip Todd, the Republican chairman of the House State and Local Government Committee, of his chairmanship.

“I don’t want to manage the internal operations, but it seems to me that given this egregious action of the DUI and the weapons violation, it would seem that stripping him of his leadership position would be appropriate,” Forrester said.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, told reporters “maybe the Democratic Party chairman ought to read the U.S. Constitution before he executes someone for something they haven't been convicted of yet. That would be my suggestion.”

According to a Nashville police affidavit, Todd was pulled over by an officer at 10:55 p.m. Tuesday. He allegedly failed a sobriety field test and refused to take a breathalyzer test. A loaded .38-caliber gun was found in a holster between the driver seat and the center console, police said.

McCormick said he had had a “brief personal conversation” with Todd earlier today.

“All of us face challenges and make mistakes in our lives,” McCormick said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Todd and his family right now. On a personal note, I only hope that he takes the necessary steps to address this issue.”

Asked if Todd would keep his chairmanship, McCormick said, “it's too early to really know if he's going to keep his chairmanship. He's done a good job, and I certainly hope so. We're not going to make any rash decisions until we have a detailed conversation with him” and House Speaker Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, who appoints chairmen.

For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
dao1980 said...

AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA! It "triggers" controversy, that's soooooooo clever!!!!

Yer killin me over here Andy!

Where's Tony Clifton when ya need him..

October 12, 2011 at 2:32 p.m.
ecah said...

Just the fact that he REFUSED a breath test should get him barred and removed from his position. He is in a position that should be held to a higher standard, just like a cop... like it or not, that's the way it is.

October 12, 2011 at 2:45 p.m.

Why don't they try to regulate the ownership of an automobile as heavily as they do guns? A car can be far more deadly than a gun.

October 12, 2011 at 2:54 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

“All of us face challenges and make mistakes in our lives,” McCormick said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Todd and his family right now. On a personal note, I only hope that he takes the necessary steps to address this issue.”

Oh my goodness, what a lot of mealy-mouthed mush! Nobody's trying to convict (or "execute" - wow!) this duly-elected representative without a trial or to forget about the Constitution's assurance of "innocent till proven guilty." But really, Mr. McCormick, this is not a "personal" matter or a "family" matter, as if somebody farted at the dinner table or the family pet died. That's absurd! This accusation directly relates to his position in government, most ironically because of his (dare I say it: hypocritical) legislative position on mixing guns and alcohol.

Just to show I'm not partisan about this, I'd point out the all-time most egregious case of temporizing and equivocating over a case of official misconduct: Ward Crutchfield, (D-Chattanooga), who continued to hold office for years after he was accused of accepting bribes (or whatever euphemism was used) in the Tennessee Waltz scandal. And he was allowed to retire with full pension after thus disgracing his office.

October 12, 2011 at 3 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

Circle the wagons boys them dems got us dead to rights but we can distract with red herrings and ad hominem!! We can't win this fight, it ain't like we just voted us all 20% raises at 3am and we can sweep it under the rug this time. Too many people know alcohol and cars and guns don't mix. But hey, throw in some strawman too. We ain't goin down without a fight.

Oh wait, this is what we do. Our base expects us to be slinging hot lead while drunk going 80 on the interstate. And how dare they try to administer a breathalyzer test to a state legislator who happens to be an ex cop? Rally boys, we can turn this around on those varmint demos and make them look like intrusive namby pamy gov'mint types!!

October 12, 2011 at 3:18 p.m.
hambone said...

"Hoisted by his own petard"

Must be intrapment, he looks so sober in the photo!!

October 12, 2011 at 4:08 p.m.
whatsnottaken said...

Hambone. Choked on my Big Mac when I saw Dem dude say he should be out and Rep dude come to defense. So predictable. Back to the Big Mac

October 12, 2011 at 4:33 p.m.
SavartiTN said...

Too funny...

October 12, 2011 at 5:19 p.m.
LibDem said...

Drunk or sober, this is one cool looking dude. I think he has his campaign poster.

(As a Democrat, I always hold my breath until I know it's not of my drunks.)

October 12, 2011 at 5:43 p.m.
rolando said...

The guns in bars law is becoming an issue here...and for no good reason except "guns" are mentioned.

There is no indication whatsoever that a gun was ever in the bar. The gun was holstered between the seat and the console...but probably meets the legal definition of "in his possession". It was certainly under his control.

No excuse for driving drunk at any time, but especially when a gun is within reach. Just plain stupid or extremely forgetful. Now if the gun had been locked in the trunk...but then, DUI would still apply.

[Good policy, LibDem.]

October 12, 2011 at 8:19 p.m.
McRand said...

In some states a refusal to take a breathalyzer is an automatic suspension. In other states you are not required to take one. What if somebody spiked your drink it didn't hit you until after you left and were already on the road and you felt you were getting an odd feeling but did not believe it to be from your drink, but just thinking you may be getting sick and continued heading for home? That's why we have a system of due process. Until proven guilty, the charges are alleged.

What does TN say?

Am I required to take a field sobriety test? NO. Tennessee law does not require you to perform field sobriety tests at the request of an officer. The officer, however, is under no obligation to inform you that such tests are voluntary.

October 12, 2011 at 9:52 p.m.
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