Saturday, December 12, 2015

What's on the council agenda for Dec. 15th? Gun shows at the Fair grounds.

This really should be a short meeting. There is not much of interest on the agenda.  I thought the last meeting would be short but I had overlooked that the Council was adopting new Council rules that meeting and debate over those new rules was what made for such a lengthy meeting. By the way, for those who may want to familiarize yourself with the rules of the Council that were adopted last meeting, you can find them here. The rules will not of interest to the average person, but for citizen activist, lobbyist, or others who follow the Council closely, knowing the rules under which the Council operates makes more sense of why the Council does some of the things they do.

You can get your own copy of the Council agenda at this link and the Council staff analysis at the this link. Council meetings can be really, really boring if you don't know what the Council is voting on; with your own copy of the agenda and analysis, the meeting will still be boring but not really, really boring.

There is only one mayoral appointee on the agenda for confirmation and that is an appointment to the Beer Board.  There are no bills on public hearing. There are only eight resolutions on the agenda and all are on "consent" which means that instead of being considered individually, they will all be lumped together and passed with a single vote. However, if a resolution fails to get unanimous support in the committee to which it is assigned then it comes off of consent. Also, any member from the floor may have his abstention or dissenting vote recorded or he may ask a bill be pulled off consent and considered separately.

There is one resolution, that I expect to come off of consent and to generate discussion and that is  RESOLUTION NO. RS2015-76.   This resolution urges the Fair Board to continue allowing gun shows at the fair grounds.  On Tuesday December 1, the Fair Board voted to discontinue gun shows at the fair grounds after the pending gun show of the December 4th and 5th weekend. The Fair board was supposedly going to develop new guidelines to improve safety at the Fairgrounds and then would reconsider allowing gun shows if exhibitors would agree to the new rules.  No one really believed the Fair Board would ever allow gun shows to return to the Fair grounds.

Bill Goodman's Gun and Knife show has been operating at the Fairgrounds for 35 years and there is no evidence that illegal gun sales have ever occurred there or even that a gun or knife purchased there has ever been used in a criminal act. There are some felons who have stated that the gun shows at the Fair grounds is where they obtained their gun, but one may surmise they did not want to admit to an additional crime of stealing a firearm so those admission from felons should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Only licensed dealers are permitted to sell firearms at the fairground gun show. Under current law, as I understand it, if you as an individual sell a gun to another individual, you do not have to be a licensed firearm dealer and you do not have to perform a background check on the person to whom you are selling. That is what is known as the "gun show loophole."  However, at the Nashville Gun and Knife Show only licensed dealers were allowed to exhibit and sell guns.

I know this decision to ban gun shows at the fair grounds is being applauded by the progressives in our community, but I wonder how much of that is driven by a sincere believe that gun shows contribute to gun deaths.  I believe that there is a certain progressive snobbishness at play that does not want Nashville to be welcoming to people who like things like flea markets, stock car races, or gun shows. Until country music became the most listened to format and a major source of income for Nashville, the elites were embarrassed by country music also. I tend to think the opposition to gun shows may be motivated more by a sociopolitical class prejudice rather than a gun control motivation.  I believe there is a certain desire for Nashville to appear progressive and enlightened and the redneck element should be deprived of outlets to express themselves. Also, the Gun and Knife shows bring in a quarter of million dollars a year to the struggling fair grounds. Part of the effort to end the gun shows may be an effort to deprive the fair grounds of revenue in hopes that it will eventually be operating so deep in the red that there will be greater reason to close the fairgrounds and sell off the property.

After the Fair Board's decision to ban future gun shows, there was a storm of protest.  Mayor Barry who is a gun control advocate disavowed being involved in the action of the Fair Board and made non-committal statements neither condemning nor approving the actions of the Fair Board and she asked the legal department to review the actions.  The legal department has come back and said the  shows scheduled for next month should continue to take place. Bill Goodman's Gun and Knife Shows are scheduled at the fairgrounds for Jan. 2 and Jan. 3, and Jan. 30 and Jan. 31.

Given this temporary reprieve for the gun show, some may argue that this resolution is not needed and  may ask that it be deferred. I hope that does not happen and the Council moves forward with this resolution.

There are nine bills on First Reading. Bills on First Reading are passed as a group and not deliberated by the Council until after they pass First Reading. I don't read them until after they pass First Reading.

There are only six bills on Second Reading. The only one I find of much interest is BILL NO. BL2015-67 which would create the Gulch Central Business Improvement District. A special district like this may impose additional taxes on properties in the district to provide extra benefits to that district. There are two other entities like this already in Nashville. Before requesting the establishment of an improvement district, the majority of those owning property in the district must approve the creation of this entity. This will probably sail though without opposition and I have not heard of any opposition.

There are 16 bills on Third Reading and none of them are of interest. Most of them are authorizing the acquiring of easement or the abandonment of easements.

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