Its been a Historic June for Firearms Owners
Its been said that this is the year for the Tennessee Firearms Association in the Tennessee Legislature.
Its true in some respects that we are seeing many issues which we have worked on for as much as 15 years become law. However, this is just the swing of the pendulum as we still see much opposition from organizations such as the Tennessee Chiefs of Police Association and opposition from elected officials. The 2010 election cycle could improve things even more if we are able to continue to remove individuals from elected and appointed offices who lack a fundamental understanding of the constitutions.
As we move toward that date, do not tolerate candidates who simply say, as Phil Bredesen did when he was vetoing the Restaurant law on May 28, 2009 - “I support the 2nd Amendment”. They can say it but what do they mean when they say it? Are they talking about hunting? Are they talking about self-defense? Or are they talking about the political right that lies at the very heart and sole of the 2nd Amendment - the right that the Founding Fathers relied upon when they took up arms against English rule? A political right of the citizens to ultimately control and if appropriate abolish an existing and typically out of control government?
Now, when existing Tennessee elected officials say “I support the 2nd Amendment” - we have recorded votes and other actions to consider.
We have veto override votes. We have votes on many firearms and civil rights bills. We have votes against other bills that should have been passed (such as the fixes to the castle doctrine and the restoration of rights bills). We have votes cowardly sending other bills to “summer study.” We have votes on state’s rights, the 10th Amendment and against federal mandates. We have votes from asserted “2nd Amendment supporters” in favor of “class legislation” which does nothing more than allocate fundamental constitutionally protected rights not on citizenship but on job or official status (e.g., special privileges to law enforcement, retired law enforcement, judges and retired judges).
We have to drive home the point that these bills are about fundamental rights, constitutional principles, federalism, states’ rights and civil rights and all of these must be weighed. Sadly, very few legislators are consistent since they claim 2nd Amendment support but then also claim to be “strong supporters” of law enforcement (which is ok) but what does that have to do with retired officers and off duty officers when the issue is fundamental rights?
Also, we have had a lot of activity recently on the TFA Online Forum in almost realtime as things were developing this week on the veto override as well as on the actions at the end of the week as Metro Nashville started efforts to circumvent the veto override on the Restaurant law. If you are not active and participating on the TFA Online Forum, it might also be a place for you.
Senator Doug Jackson and Senator Mae Beavers Both of these deserve special recognition this week.
Senator Jackson made one of the best arguments to date on the Restaurant bill on the Senate floor relative to the veto override. He addressed the misinformation, lies and misplaced emotional pleas of the liberal news media. He responded to false assertions by certain opponents of the Restaurant bill that “all” law enforcement oppose mixing “guns and alcohol” by reading letters into the legislative history from various sheriffs in his district (such as Sheriff Wall from Dickson) and at least one chief of police (who also addressed the stunts of the Tennessee Chiefs of Police Association) who strongly support the restaurant bill. He recited the story of Nikki Goeser whose husband Ben was murdered in a restaurant in April 2009 while her handgun was in her car because Tennessee at that time restricted her rights. If you have not seen the video, I strongly recommend that you watch it - over and over again.
Senator Beavers, who chairs the Senate Judicary, also quitely carried the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act to Senate vote of overwhelming vote on the Senate floor. She was a guest on the Glenn Beck show on Friday, June 5, to talk about Tennessee’s now historic stand against the federal government under the 10th Amendment and in favor of state’s rights.
Attention turns to local officials who seek to defeat Restaurant bill and parks bill.
On Friday, June 5, news reports starting breaking across the state that local officials in Nashville we considering an end-run on the restaurant law by trying to deny beer permits to restaurants that do not put up signs banning firearms ownership. The Nashville Post was one of the first to roll the story but many other news outlets ran the story.
As we have noted before, much of the focus of firearms rights has been in the past limited to state and federal elections. That must change. Local officials, as we make progress at the state level, will increasing try to exercise their limited authority to thwart fundamental rights. These local officials now must be measured on constitutional principles which is something that sadly voters seldom see capable of doing. Well now, these local officials are going to be forced to take a public record position on issues such as restaurants, parks and posting of other public properties. These votes will and written election promises from other candidates will now require scrutiny and demands of accountability.
We understand that a request has been made of the State Attorney General by the legislature as to whether the stunt proposed by Nashville council members violates state law. Depending on the outcome of that opinion, we could see a new law written and passed within the last minutes of this legislative session to slap the hands of these local officials.
What can you do - call and write the legislature demanding that the restaurant bill be protected from local abuse.
Also, contact every member of the Metro council on this issue. It does not matter if you are a Nashville resident because you are likely at some point to be in Nashville and this kind of abuse - if not checked - can impact your rights.
Here is a link to the list of Nashville Council Members, included are phone numbers and email addresses. You CAN email all council members in a mass email from the Metro website.