A key architect of the state’s so called “guns in bars” law, state Rep. Curry Todd, pleaded guilty to drunken driving and illegally possessing a weapon Friday.
With teary eyes, he told reporters he was sorry for the actions that led to his October 2011 arrest in Nashville, adding the experience has “greatly humbled” him as former law enforcement officer who found himself “painfully on the other side.”
“Rather than looking back, it’s my intention to move forward, concentrate my efforts, my experiences both good and bad on being the best friend, leader and advocate for the people in my district in the state of Tennessee,” he said outside the Nashville courtroom as tears welled in his eyes.
While Todd pleaded guilty, he maintained his DUI arrest was the result of taking prescription medication and later drinking “less than two glasses of wine.”
Fifteen months ago, Todd was pulled over south of Hillsboro Village near the corner of 21st Avenue and Blair Boulevard for swerving and driving 60 mph in a 40 mph zone. He failed field sobriety tests but refused to take a breath test to determine his level of intoxication. The refusal is a violation of the state’s implied consent law that stipulates all drivers are expected to submit to sobriety tests, although that charge was thrown out in court Friday as part of Todd’s plea deal.
Police also found a .38-caliber gun stuffed between the drivers seat and center console. State law prohibits possession of a handgun while under the influence.
Todd now faces 48 hours in jail and a year of probation. He is also responsible for a $350 fine, 24 hours of community service. He will lose his driving privileges for a year but be eligible for a restrictive drivers license. He must complete alcohol safety classes, must install an interlock device on his vehicle and must work with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a victim impact panel.
He also cannot carry a gun until after finishing his probation and asking the court to expunge the weapons violation from his record.
A Republican from Collierville, Todd sponsored legislation allowing gun owners to carry into establishments that serve alcohol under the stipulation those individuals refrain from drinking. The battle over the legislation went on for years before becoming law in 2010.
Todd, who was chairman of the key State and Local Government Committee, stepped down from his post following his arrest. While he won re-election unopposed last year, House Speaker Beth Harwell did not reappoint him to a legislative leadership position as chair of that committee. The Republican Caucus also replaced him on the Fiscal Review committee.