Metal detectors may be required at Houston bars, clubs to cut down on crime, mayor proposes

Friday, June 16, 2023
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Mayor Sylvester Turner is proposing requiring metal detectors at Houston bars and nightclubs to cut down on crime after recent mass shootings.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houstonians may soon be wanded for weapons before entering bars and clubs in the city.

Mayor Sylvester Turner told the city council on Wednesday he was considering an ordinance requiring metal detector wands in businesses where people primarily sell alcohol following a violent weekend in the city.

On Sunday, six people were shot outside Tabú Restaurant and Lounge near the Galleria.

SEE MORE: 4 suspects wanted in connection to mass shooting outside west Houston bar, HPD says

"Guns and alcohol don't mix," Turner said.

ABC13 sought additional information from the mayor's office, but a spokesperson said there isn't any as they are still exploring options.

Turner's office could not confirm if this would impact all bars or only bars with a number of citations and/or violent incidents.

They did not have a timeline for when the ordinance will be brought before the council.

Michael Klein of the Texas Bar and Night Club Alliance called Turner's proposed plan a knee-jerk reaction.

"What a public relations nightmare to have Houston, a world-class city that hosts events like the Super Bowl, and you just recently came off of the men's Final Four, to say, 'Welcome to Houston, and we're going to frisk you, and metal detect you when you and your significant other go to get a beer,'" Klein added.

Paul Redmond owns The New Potato, a bar in the Fifth Ward.

The Irish ex-pat opened the business after decades in the service industry. He lovingly refers to it as his second baby.

The bar's chosen name is an Irish idiom for "new kid on the block."

"I took a hit just opening here. I took a gamble just opening here," he said.

Redmond told ABC13 the ordinance, if passed, would be another financial hit as he would need to hire someone to wand customers.

"I don't have any problems here, so why should I have to take the burden of hiring somebody else," he said.

"I don't want to hear anybody talking about it's going to cost us more. What's costing us more when shootings are occurring, and people are getting hurt and, in some cases, even killed," Turner told the council.

Attorney Peyton Peebles offered his take on the legality of the proposed ordinance.

"My take is that our government always needs to try to keep folks safe and to enforce the laws, and one way (the mayor) can do that is by going after individual places that are violating. Another one is if he sees a systemic problem, he can step in and try to enact restrictions on that broad base. But it gets a little bit hairy there because he's now going to impose something on business owners who are now going to have to go out, spend money, spend resources. It may negatively impact their business model, so I expect at one point one or more of these business owners will come together and file a challenge to that," Peebles told ABC13.

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