Alcohol and the Honor System

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A few things that have been going on recently in the Tennessee State Legislature regarding gun laws have been really bothering me. There are three laws that the Tennessee Legislature, particularly Sen. Doug Jackson, are pushing to be passed: 1. To make it impossible to search for gun owners through any sort of database, 2. To allow gun permit owners to carry their guns into public parks, and 3. (Which is most disturbing to me), to carry these guns into restaurants and bars, just as long as the permit owner is not consuming alcohol. ["Tennessee 'Guns in Bars' Bill May Finally Gets its Show-Down," Citybeat by Charles Maldonado, April 30, 2009]

Being an American has it perks, though freedom is something too many people take for granted. And I understand that the right to "bear arms" is one of these said freedoms. Personally, I would never own a gun; I actually think I would be afraid to even touch one. But this is my own choice. Gun owners have a right to own guns, and even though I am not comfortable with this, it doesn’t matter. But what does matter is my safety. Tennessee’s safety is currently in jeopardy and whether or not these proposed bills pass will determine this.

Doug Jackson, a Tennessee state senator, is the man behind this worry of mine. On Thursday, March 16, Jackson appeared on The Colbert Report and stated: "I think the right to keep and bear arms is as American as apple pie, baseball, and hot dogs." To be honest, I don’t really favor any of these "American" things, but I don’t mind them. What I do mind though is constantly worrying about who has a gun, and more importantly why. I would imagine that all gun owners have the intention of using it at some point; I mean, it’s not a toy or a fashion statement, it’s a gun!

Under Jackson’s proposed bills, any person owning a gun permit will be allowed to carry it with them to any restaurant or bar, assuming they will refrain from consuming alcohol. First of all, this is crazy. Second of all, does this mean we will all now have to go through metal detectors, and if we do in fact have a gun what happens next? Do we get a stamp on our hand of a little blurred gun indicating we should not be served alcohol? These bills would be operating on the honor system, and let’s all be honest, no one is ever completely honest.

Whitney Novak, Knoxville

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