If any of you had an opportunity to watch the opponents testimony in the Senate Judiciary on the 6th, (you can still go back and see it as all videos are archived), you will note that Chairman Beavers invited all those who did not get to speak, to submit their testimony in writing for distribution to the other committee members. If the bill goes as planned by Senator Faulk, the bill should be up for a vote in the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday the 13th. We need to get those emails and phone calls going in. My information has it that Ron Ramsey has indicated that Senators Mark Norris and Brian Kelsey from Shelby County are key to this bill passing. Senator Brian Kelsey is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and he has not been very vocal in any of the previous hearings so it is hard to get a reading on how he may vote. If any of you live in his district, please contact him.
Here is the email I sent to all the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Chairman Beavers and Senators,
I am Sam Cooper of Memphis. I spoke before your committee in support of HB3002. I watched with great interest the testimony of those who oppose this bill on March 6th. I noted that the chair invited those who did not get an opportunity to speak, to submit their testimony in writing for distribution to the other members.
With that in mind, I would ask that the members allow me to rebut some of what was said on March 6th and consider that along with our previous testimony when you vote.
Mr. Hogan of Federal Express remarked on the number of employees at the airport facility. With that said he expressed concern for the increased imediate access to firearms. What he did not say, and was not asked, is how many firearms they suspect to already be in vehicles on their lot. Also it was not asked if they take any steps currently to prevent those firearms from being present. The answer to that is that they do not. Outside of the existance of a policy and signage along with the reserved right to search, there is nothing done to actively prevent the carrying of weapons on the property.
Several spoke of statistics: from 2006 thru 2008, 81%, 69% and 80% respectively of work place homicides were by shootings. 52% of employees knew about or had witnessed an act of workplace violence with 28% experiencing acts of violence.
These statistics while in themselves may be accurate, do not break down some very valid information regarding them. From 1997 thru 2010 Justice Bureau statistics help put some of THEIR statistics into context. These incidents of workplace violence accounted for only 4% of ALL violent crime. 84% of THAT 4% was committed by NON-employees. Of those only 9% knew someone in that workplace and only 7% were committed by current or former employees.
What is not clarified is that a armed robery of a convenience store where an employee is shot can be included as an act of workplace violence.
The close proximity or ready access of a firearm is cited as a potential hazard yet none of those speaking said anything about the ILLEGAL firearms that are most likely ALREADY there.
The President of Trevecca Nazarene University indicates that they are willing to work with those who choose to carry on campus legally and has had no problems. If every employer would do as they do, there would be no need for this law but they will not. He went on to say that a firearm kept in a car that is out of sight and not known is not something that they can be concerned about.
The most important fact brought out and should be remembered is what Mr. Hogan said in response to a question from Senator Bell. He said that in the other states that have a similiar law and employees ARE able to keep firearms in their car, there has been NO problems. NONE of the incidents they say will happen, NONE of the dire predictions have come to pass.
Unlike other requirements imposed by state and federal laws, this bill imposes no additional requirements or expense on the part of the property owner. If this bill passes, it will be business as usual.
Please consider this when you deliberate this bill.