A few years ago, Curry Todd, a state representative in Tennessee, gained national notoriety for sponsoring a law that allowed people to carry handguns in bars and restaurants.
While this law seemed to be misguided to many observers, it did come with a key caveat: those carrying handguns could not drink alcohol while they were packing heat.
This important distinction, however, recently came into play when Todd himself was arrested for a DUI while he was carrying a loaded weapon.
According to an Associated Press report, police stopped Todd in his GMC Envoy and detected a strong odor of alcohol in his vehicle. Police said that Todd had bloodshot eyes and had difficulty speaking.
Todd refused to take a breathalyzer test, but he allegedly failed a roadside sobriety test administered by the arresting officers. The police report says that Todd claimed he only had two drinks before being arrested.
After his arrest, police search Todd’s car and discovered a loaded .38-caliber pistol in a holster resting between the driver’s seat and the center console of the car.
The discovery of the handgun was particularly troubling to the arresting officers, who said Todd was unable to stay on his feet and was “obviously very impaired and not in any condition to be carrying a loaded handgun.”
Predictably, critics of Todd’s handgun law have embraced the irony of his arrest. They have also claimed that Todd’s actions show the futility and inevitable danger of allowing bar patrons to carry handguns.
In his defense, Todd released a statement claiming that he was sorry for the incident, but he also refused to make any further public comments on the advice of his DUI lawyer.
Some observers are speculating that Todd’s days as a lawmaker are numbered, but Todd has shown no signs of leaving his legislative post.
He has, however, entertained the notion of stepping aside from his post as the chairman of the Tennessee legislature’s State and Local Governance Committee. Todd plans to announce his future intentions after meeting with the Republican leaders of the state legislature.
In addition to his sponsorship of the controversial handgun law, Todd gained national fame last year for fearing that illegal immigrants would “go out there like rats and multiply” if undocumented women were given publicly financed prenatal care for their children.
After the remark, Todd compounded the public’s anger by saying that, instead of the quip about rats, he simply meant to use the term “anchor babies,” which many see as an equally indelicate phrase.
Later, Todd would renounce both claims, and issued a formal public apology. Thus, while Todd’s lawmaking days may be short-lived, he at least has gained valuable practice in the art of the formal public apology.