Hot lead, cold beer mixed to make news

Friday, June 12, 2009

After Bill Clinton signed the 1996 income tax reform into law, pundits were calling it the accountants' full employment act of 1996 because it was so complicated that folks who'd been doing their own tax returns were going to tax services for help.

Now, the new gun laws coming from the Tennessee General Assembly have generated a great deal of controversy with advocates criticizing editorialists, and others of course, who warn that permitting guns in restaurants where alcoholic beverages are served is a bad idea.

A majority of our learned leaders say there's no need for alarm. In fact, we may be safer. Let's hope so.

On the other hand, if some of the predictions come true, then the new state gun laws might be described as the police and court beat reporters' full employment act of 2009.

Meanwhile, let's consider a couple of recent police investigations right here in Lewisburg.

There's the shooting in a bar and grill parking lot where the victim suffered a gunshot wound. The bullet went through his torso and dented the fender behind him. He lived, but suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs - wounds that are especially painful.

Then there's the shooting in the shooter's apartment where a man with one or two knives reportedly threatened the resident who pulled out a pistol and tried to hold the man at bay while he called 911. The caller pleaded for police to hurry and people listening to the recording can hear him say that he didn't want to shoot, but he did.

Blood alcohol test results from the autopsy might make a point, but the decedent had a knife, not a gun. If alcohol was in his system, some folks might say it impaired his judgment.

Ultimately, though, this case does indicate that if someone has a gun, it can be successfully used to defend a home. This case remains under investigation because a complete analysis of the physical evidence isn't finished.

And while it's not about a shooting in a bar, it is about a man with a gun, defending him-self in this city.

In the other case, the shooting was not inside the building, but it was just outside the front door where customers were standing around, presumably having a smoke and most, if not all, had probably had a few drinks.

During the resulting trial that ended in a conviction, the state prosecutor told the jury that permitting guns in, or at bars is a bad idea. It may be logical to conclude that the jury agreed, although the question for the jury was more focused. Did one man shoot another at the bar room door that night?

Those who have traveled out west, may have noticed folks in stores, or elsewhere wearing a holstered pistol on their hip. Those defending the law permitting guns in restaurants imply that there aren't any problems out west because they have their guns with them. They also have them on display. They're not concealed weapons.

Finally, there may be an end to all this speculation when restaurant owners are told what their liability insurance will be if they become a place frequented by customers with guns. Maybe they'll do what's shown during some western movie scenes in which cowboys are told to hang their guns at the door.