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Heard on the Hill: Guns-in-Bars Champion Arrested on Gun, DUI Charges

The Tennessee Republican who championed the state’s guns-in-bars legislation was arrested Tuesday night on charges of drunken driving and being in possession of a gun while under the influence, the Tennessean reported.

State Rep. Curry Todd failed a roadside sobriety test and refused a breathalyzer in Nashville. Nestled in the seat next to him? His loaded Smith & Wesson .38 Special.

Oh, sweet, sweet irony. Also! Todd can boast one of the greatest mug shots of all time.

“It’s hard to see his eyeballs,” says Brandon Puttbrese, communications director for the Tennessee Democratic Party. There is a “paper-thin slit between each eyeball.”

There is indeed.

So who is this man of mystery?

“Curry Todd is a cantankerous longtime Republican serving out of Shelby County,” Puttbrese tells us.

This isn’t his first time making waves, he continues.

“A couple of sessions ago, he got a lot of attention for saying that Mexican immigrants ‘breed like rats,’” Puttbrese says.

To be fair, during the November 2010 hearing in question, Todd compared all undocumented immigrants to rodents, not just those of Hispanic origin.

The Tennessee Republican Party has had put Todd on “legislative lockdown” since last November, Puttbrese tells us.

Before he was benched, Todd was the lead sponsor of the guns-in-bars legislation, which is now the law of the land in Tennessee.

At the guns-in-bars hearing, “[Todd] said ‘Tennessean permit holders are the most responsible people there are,’” Puttbrese says.

Todd holds a firearm permit and is a Tennessean.

The guns-in-bars bill was vetoed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, but the state Legislature overrode it with a simple majority in both chambers.

“I don’t know that we’ve had a governor that’s stronger than the [National Rifle Association] in a while,” Puttbrese says.

Todd still wields some power, however. He is in charge of redistricting in Shelby County, which includes 10 percent of the seats in the state House.

But what happens next is anyone’s guess.

“When you think you’ve got [Tennessee politics] understood, everything changes,” Puttbrese says.

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