Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ramsey Calls for 'Zero Tolerance' for Rep. Curry Todd

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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Making the first strong statement by any Tennessee Republican against Rep. Curry Todd, Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey said today Todd should be "punished to the fullest extent of the law" for driving drunk with a loaded gun, and he suggested House Speaker Beth Harwell should remove Todd as a committee chairman. But Ramsey said Todd's arrest shouldn't cause the legislature to curtail gun rights.

"Keep in mind, we were the 36th state to adopt [the guns-in-bars law]. Again there wasn't one documented case still to this day of someone going into a bar, a gun permit holder, and using their firearm. There's still not," he said.

Ramsey's criticism of Todd contrasted with yesterday's comments from House GOP leader Gerald McCormick, who merely referred vaguely to Todd's mistakes. Harwell, who will decide whether Todd remains as chairman of the State and Local Government Committee, has made no public comment at all.

Here are excerpts from Ramsey's comments to reporters.

Q: What's your reaction to Curry Todd's arrest and will it have any impact on gun legislation?

Ramsey: No, I mean obviously it's sad that anybody gets into that situation, but I have zero tolerance for drunk driving. I think he needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The fact that he had a firearm in the car is bad. That's breaking the law too. So he needs to be punished to the fullest extent there.

Q: What do you think that means for his future as a lawmaker and chairman of a committee?

Ramsey: Well, his future as a lawmaker, that's determined in my opinion by the constituents in his district. Chairman of the committee? I appoint the chairmen of the committees in the Senate, and Speaker Harwell appoints them in the House. I don't want to get involved in their business anymore than I want them involved in mine. But at the same time, I think that's something you ought to look closely at. That's completely up to them.

Q: Critics of gun laws are making much out of the fact that this was the sponsor of the gun law. He stood up on the floor and said gun owners are responsible and aren't going to be drinking. Why doesn't that hurt the cause, so to speak?

Ramsey:
Well, obviously, he did. ... and he needs to be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Using that same analogy, then he broke the law driving a car too and I guess we need to take all cars away from people. .

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