Hats Off to Tootsie's Owner for Manning Up to the Guns-in-Bars Crowd

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Thanks to owner Steve Smith, Tootsie's won't look like this anytime soon. As reported in Tuesday's Tennessean, bouncers at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge will soon start using metal-detecting wands to ensure that patrons respect the bar's "no guns" policy. Yesterday, a story posted on Forbes magazine's website about the first day of Tennessee's transformation into the Wild Wild West featured these words from Tootsie's owner Steve Smith:
We've never had nobody seriously injured at Tootsie's, and I don't want to start gambling now by starting to allow guns in the place.
For Smith, who says he expects to lose a few customers, clearly sanity has prevailed over greed. But what's really striking about Tootsie's policy is this: Arguably the most legendary honky-tonk in Nashville (and the country), Tootsie's is a mecca for the hardworking, salt-of-the-earth, God-fearing, patriotic, hunting-and-fishing crowd that comprises the bulk of country music fans. And even Tootsie's thinks this is a bad idea! We're not talking about F. Scott's or some effete martini bar here. Though I favor pretty strong gun-control legislation, I can respect and understand the views of folks who are concerned about too much restriction on their right to bear arms (within reason), just as I can respect the views of many pro-lifers (assuming they don't kill people and bomb clinics), even though I'm pro-choice. But the folks who backed the guns-in-bars legislation have essentially made the entire Second Amendment crowd look like a bunch of raving lunatics, much the same way Sarah Palin (and the folks who attended her rallies mumbling about Barack Obama being an Arab) hijacked the Republican Party during the presidential election, marginalizing the party's saner factions and turning it into a laughingstock. Perhaps the ultimate irony is that, prior to the law passing, the gun nuts could have brought their weapons into Tootsie's, albeit illegally, and no one would have been the wiser. Now they're screwed, and some of them will likely boycott the place. Their loss--if the place was/is good enough for Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline and Kris Kristofferson, it's good enough for me. Of course, if we knew that every saloon shootout would lead to an awesome Elvin Jones drum solo, we might could get behind this whole dang guns-in-bars thing...

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