During the debate over the bill in 2009, Todd assured lawmakers that gun permit holders would be careful about not violating the ban on drinking in bars or restaurants while carrying a gun.
“The burden is not going to be on the restaurant owner, it’s going to be on the individual, because he’s going to know that he has a chance there if he’s caught to lose his gun permit forever,” Todd said.
Faith and Don Peters were leaving a Lowe’s home improvement store on Wednesday when they heard about Todd’s arrest. Both retired Republicans agreed that Todd should be treated like any other citizen who gets in trouble.
“I feel you should be a law abiding citizen, especially if you serve as an example to the community,” Faith Peters said.
Outside the same store, real estate appraiser Terry Smith, who said he played high school basketball with Todd in the 1960s, was saddened to hear of the charges.
“I hate to see it happen to him,” said Smith. “I’d hate to jump to judge him.”
Todd is known for occasional flashes of a temper. After Bredesen vetoed the original version of the guns in bars bill, Todd said: “I want to tell you what the governor can do with that piece of paper he just sent.”
Todd also drew national attention last year for saying in a committee hearing that illegal immigrants can “go out there like rats and multiply” after hearing that federal law requires the state to extend prenatal care to women regardless of their citizenship status because all children born in the U.S. are citizens.
Todd initially acknowledged that he used the wrong words and that he meant to say “anchor babies” — itself a term many consider offensive — but refused to apologize for the original remark.
Todd later changed course and said he would “apologize if the comment offended anyone.”
• Associated Press writer Adrian Sainz in Collierville contributed to this report.
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