Red, White, Rattlesnake -- Opponents Fight Smoking Ban

People against a proposed smoking ban in Franklin are fighting back with sharp tongues and red, white and rattlesnake flags.

Smoking ban opponents said they were energized by seeing other small communities enact smoking bans, something they see as violating their rights.

Navy Jack flags have sprung up in the community as vocal smoking ban opponents make their feelings known. The flags are a sign of independence from the American Revolutionary War, bearing the likeness of a rattlesnake and the words, "Don't Tread On Me."

The flags fly outside of homes and business sympathetic to the cause of blocking a smoking ban for Franklin, 6News' Julie Pursley reported.

The owners of Don and Donna's restaurant are selling the flags, because they believe a smoking treads on rights and will be bad for business.

"It's not just about smoking. It's more about our rights as citizens of the United States and not just about being able to smoke or not smoke," said Kathy Kirkland, of Don and Donna's.

Customers that 6News spoke with Friday said they will go wherever they are still allowed to smoke. Franklin attorney Jennifer Auger sides with opponents of the proposed ban.

"For Franklin to attract the business it needs, business owners need to be able to conduct their business the way they see fit," Auger said.

The City Council has been debating the ordinance for the past several months. It would prohibit smoking in most public places -- including bars and restaurants. Ann Gordon, a member of the Franklin City Council, supports a smoking ban.

"I'm for a ban of some sort. I'm not sure how complete I want it -- if I want a total ban, or have some exclusions," Gordon said.

Residents are divided on the issue. 6News spoke with some residents who said they supported a partial or total ban on smoking in the city.

The public will have a chance to voice opinions on the smoking ban before the City Council on May 8. The measure could be amended and voted upon at that meeting.

Greenwood has already passed a smoking ban and Johnson County commissioners are considering a similar measure.

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