Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tennessee Firearms Association Demands the Legislature address Gun Rights

It seems the Tennessee Firearms Association is not at all happy that our state legislature is getting distracted by things like education reform and tax reform and making government more efficient rather than focusing on gun rights. They are disappointing that gun rights are not going to be a priority in the upcoming legislative session. TFA's Executive Director John Harris said, "The lack of attention to firearms-related issues on the 2014 Republican-controlled legislative agenda did not go unnoticed."

The TFA is the pro-gun lobby in Tennessee. They want to go beyond the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment, as everyone knows, is a restriction on government that guarantees our right to bare arms. The TFA wants to expand your "right" to bear arms beyond the rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment. They want to prohibit others from saying you cannot carry your gun onto their property. If TRA got their way on this, who knows what they would want next.

Because the TFA did not deem Republican Debra Maggart sufficiently pro-gun, they engineered her defeat in the 2012 GOP primary, spending an unprecedented $155,000 plus dollars in negative campaigning and disparaging her A+ rated,  pro-Second Amendment voting record.  They said she was for gun control, for shredding the Constitution, and compared her to President Barack Obama. 

In 2013 the State legislature passed the  'safe commute' bill which essentially would "allow" a person with a valid handgun carry permit to keep a gun in their car in a public or private parking lot. Despite the hysteria about the bill, it is worth noting that it really didn't do much. At the time, supporters stressed that the measure would not stop employers from banning weapons on their property but would simply remove their ability to call for criminal charges against violators.  Also, it was clear the bill did not apply to areas like airports, railroads or secure facilities governed by federal law.

It is true that the bill did not give the TFA all they wanted, but they got something. I do not think our state legislature was prepared to go further and trample private property rights in the name of expanding gun rights. If they would have done so, I doubt Governor Haslam would have signed the bill.

The TFA showed they can take out a powerful State legislator, but there is no making them happy. I don't think the TFA can take out Ron Ramsey or Beth Harwell or Governor Haslam. The legislative leadership should take the position that, we have dealt with "guns-in-trunks-in-parking-lots" and we are not going to revisit the issue. Haslam should take the position, I signed the "safe commute" bill and I will not go further than that bill and I will veto any gun bill that tramples property rights. 

We have spend enough time on guns. Our right to bear arms is well protected in Tennessee.  Move on to other things. 

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