Bar Gun Bill in Jeopardy After House Fight

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Only in Tennessee could lawmakers see legalizing guns in saloons as a violation of Second Amendment rights. A gang of renegade Republicans shot down the guns-in-bars bill last night in the House. They objected to an 11 p.m. curfew for gunmen to give up their weapons. The angry sponsor yanked the bill from the floor. Afterward, Rep. Curry Todd said he wasn't sure whether he'd try to pass it again. "I'm disappointed in my Republican colleagues," he said. "I think they left me out there to hang." Todd thinks handgun carriers should have to give up their weapons at 11 p.m. or leave establishments that serve alcohol. That should cut down on any unnecessary recklessness with guns, he reasons. "The NRA was OK with this," he assured the House as if that's all anyone needed to hear. The House voted 62-29 to add the curfew to the bill. But many Republicans were upset and Rep. Brian Kelsey then offered an amendment to strip the provision. After Todd could muster only 32 votes to table that amendment, he withdrew the bill. Which tells you how much the House has changed because of last year's election. Under Democratic rule, this bill never even made it to the floor. It always was killed in subcommittee, thanks to then-House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh. The idea of legalizing guns in saloons was laughable. Now, it's not good enough to allow guns in bars until 11 o'clock. Odds are the Republicans will come together on a bill either with the curfew or without one and pass it. See Andy Sher and Rick Locker.
"You can't leave it wide open out there in my opinion and be responsible, to let them just carry it anywhere they want to carry it," said Todd, a former policeman. "I can't let them carry it into a bar. And I know what a bar is: pickled eggs, pickled sausage, pool table, shuffleboard and bar stools up there."

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