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Plain Talk – 6.08.10

Plain Talk – 6.08.10

Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 9:14 pm
By: Nicolle Crist, Guest Columnist

Again with the guns in bars? Nashville flooded like no one knew that it could. Ten percent of Tennesseans are out of a job and national congressional Republicans are blocking unemployment compensation because they think that unemployment benefits make people stop looking for jobs.
The Gulf of Mexico is slowly filling with oil and hundreds of thousands of people dependent on small fisheries will be migrating to other parts of the country looking for work, perhaps here in Tennessee.
That’s just the tip of the iceburg. Let’s not forget that while the Gulf of Mexico gets most of the attention these days, just two short years ago, more than two million cubic yards of coal ash sludge leaked into our rivers and streams from the Kingston Fossil Plant near Knoxville. 
I would think that the State Legislature of Tennessee has more pressing concerns than whether or not to allow guns in bars. But apparently, they don’t.
I’ve lost count on how many times this legislation has been introduced. This most recent version of the legislation was introduced by Sen. Doug Jackson of Dickson. He argues that responsible gun owners have the right to carry their guns wherever they choose.
It doesn’t matter if alcohol is being served. His argument is simple: we have the right to bear arms and we should just trust that each person choosing to exercise that right will be responsible.
Now to be fair, Sen. Jackson’s legislation only applies to people who are licensed to carry handguns.
It stipulates that the permitted gun owner is not allowed to drink if he or she has the gun in the bar and bar owners are allowed to decide if guns are permitted in their establishment.
As a former bartender, I can understand the hesitation that many bar and restaurant employees currently feel.
If you’ve ever had to cut someone off, you know, it’s a delicate situation that can turn volatile quickly.
In many states, bartenders and owners are liable for drunk drivers who commit vehicular man-slaughter after drinking at their bar. How exactly are bartenders going to know if a patron has a carry permit?
Is the bartender now liable for what that patron does with the gun if they violate the law and drink with the gun in their possession?
Bars and restaurants can be loud and crowded places. What security measures do gun owners need to take to ensure that their gun is not stolen? And of course, the most obvious question, what exactly do you need a gun in a bar for anyway?
If the reason for this legislation isn’t political distraction, then what is it for?
To prove that gun owners are responsible and can be trusted to carry guns anywhere they choose? Isn’t it inherently irresponsible to mix guns and alcohol as much as it is to smoke in a munitions plant?
I own guns. Most of my family owns guns.
Gun ownership is a right and just like all of our other rights, it comes with responsibility.
Send your comments to nicolle.crist@gmail.com.
WCP 6.08.10

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