Newsletter from the Tennessee Firearms Association; March 7, 2012:
House Leadership’s Employer styled version of Employee Safe Commute delay to March 14
As previously reported, Rep. Gerald McCormick (R. and House Majority Leader) has taken control of HB3660 and it appears that this bill has become House Leadership’s bill to strip and rewrite as its version of an employee parking lot or safe commute bill. This bill was on notice on March 7, 2012, for the subcommittee of the House Consumer and Employee Affairs committee. It was announced at the beginning of the commitee hearing that the sponsor, presumably McCormick, wanted to reset the bill for March 14, 2012.
It is anticipated that the bill is still awaiting the yet unannounced amendment to be written by House Leadership. In reality, it is to be expected that House Republican leadership will not want anyone other than possible committee members to get a chance to see or evaluate this vaporous amendment until the very last minute prior to the committee vote. Also do not be surprised if all elgible members of House Republican leadership appear in the committee to vote in support of the bill.
Sources within the House indicate that whatever amendment does surface – if any – will likely be negotiated and offered with the blessings of the NRA’s lobbyist. If so, it will also be important not only to contact your legislators but perhaps the NRA as well to make sure that the details of any proposed amendment are available for the evaluation of the voters/citizens long before it comes up for any “surprise” vote.
These delay tactics are designed to kill both bills. Do not fall victim to these ploys.
This HB3660 is nothing more than pandering to business and an absolute insult to the rights of self-defense and the rights protected under the 2nd Amendment.
It is time to take action to call, email and contact your legislators to OPPOSE HB3660!! Demand that they support HB3560 by Rep. Bass and approximately 30 bipartisan legislators and its companion SB3002 by Sen. Mike Faulk.
We also still have the TFA Action Center email campaign operational and it is proving very popular and effective. With it you can send an email to your House member, your Senate member, each member of each Judiciary Committee and the Governor. Note: If you use the TFA Action Center campaign, please edit the subject and body of the message to customize it for your personal use. It will send it to your specific legislators based on your street address.
It is time to flood the offices of the legislature with our demands. Even if you have already sent a message or made a call, the work to protect our rights and remove infringements sometimes requires that we do more than a single email or phone call.
News Attention to Firearms Battle Caused by Republican leadership
One thing that was made clear by House Republican leadership when they started telling House Republican members that they did not want any firearms related bills this year was that they also did not want any public or news media controversy on firearms related topics. What a disasterous plan they have implemented because not only has the news media focused on the merits of the controversy (at least the low hanging fruit) but they have actually started to relish the tension and even divide that Republican House Leadership, some Senators and obviously our “moderate at best” Governor have now created by their own actions and omissions with Tennessee’s firearms owners, hunters, NRA members and TFA members. Wow, these politcal operatives really know how to keep their perceived “supporters” happy and on board.
The Tennessee Firearms Association is a statewide organization of gun owners and gun-rights advocates headed by Nashville lawyer John Harris.
Chattanooga Times Free Press
… any circumstance,” Haslam, a fellow Republican, said of the charges recently leveled by Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris.
Missouri News Horizon
Their turnabout is in no small part due to political sabre-rattling by the Tennessee Firearms Association, which has a long history of holding state …
Efforts to broker a compromise have been criticized by gun-rights groups — such as the Tennessee Firearms Association, whose executive director previously …
John Harris is a Nashville attorney, executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association Inc. since 1995 and the author of books concerning Tennessee …
These are just a few stories that popped up on a Google alert on March 7. A Google search shows very widespread commentary on forums, news sites and in general to an issue that the House Republican Leadership wanted to be kept quite in this election year….
Perceived 2nd Amendment Advocate turning on firearms owners?
Bob Pope is a promoter. He was a gun show promoter for years with Bob Pope’s Gun and Knife Shows. He has had radio shows, a brief period as a news publisher, and has promoted himself as an expert on firearms (which may be true) in addition to firearms laws. He is a political player to be reckoned with. He terminated his radio show and his newspaper in 2011 only a few months after working hard to get Bill Haslam elected (of course after he briefly and publicly endorsed Mike McWherter for governor).
Pope has submitted a letter to the editor to the Tennessean on the parking lots bill which ran on March 5, 2012:
Gun rights are vital; so are private property rights
I spent over 34 years either as a gun dealer or gun-show promoter. I consider myself a true constitutional conservative. There is no one in the state, in my opinion, that supports the Second Amendment more than I.
I would love to see the legislature pass a bill where all public parking lots are open to people with valid handgun-carry permits, but any law that violates personal property rights must be defeated.
When the owner of a private company wishes to restrict his employee parking lot to request no one be allowed in with a firearm, this is totally the owner’s right. This is America, and no one is required to work for any company. The company makes all its rules and regulations known before employment.
The Tennessee Firearms Association and National Rifle Association are trying to convince everyone that all their members support their stand on the parking lot bill, but they do not. To the governor and legislature: Thank you for your support of the Second Amendment, but please now defend private property rights. Restaurants and bars in Tennessee currently have the right to post their property; it should be no different for companies and individuals.
Of course, for those who are watching, this opinion by Pope sounds quite a bit like what Republican leadership is touting in their quest for reasonable infringement of the 2nd Amendment. We previously reported on news stories and opinions that Bob Pope also released on the mythical “gun show loophole”
GUN SHOW PROMOTER DECLARES “GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE” EXISTS
In December 2011, the Tennessean and local news stations were giddy with reports that a former gun show promoter and Second Amendment advocate had announced that there is in fact a “gun show loophole” and asserted that the State of Tennessee must take steps to close it.
Actually, the law is clear that there is no “loophole”. What some people are falsely calling a “loophole” is actually the application of what is commonly referred to under both federal and state law as the “casual sale exception.” Under the law, individuals and entities who are “in the business” of dealing in firearms are required to have a federal firearms license. Under the law, only those individuals who are federally licensed can and are required to do “Brady” background checks when they make retail sales of firearms to individuals or entities that do not have federal dealer licenses. As part of the law, the policy decision was made and has existed for a long time that there is no constitional (“commerce clause”) or policy basis to require private citizens who are not “in the business” of dealing in firearms to perform formal background checks when they transfer (including sales, trades and gifts) personal firearms.
The gun show loophole is frequently cited by gun-control groups as a basis to end or more heavily regulate gun shows. The gun control advocates claim that guns are sold at shows without the required background checks and/or that criminals often use these shows to acquire guns illegally. However, gun shows are regulated in the same manner as all other gun sales. Federally licensed firearms dealers, who by far are the actual sellers of the firearms at gun shows, are required by law to perform the Brady / FBI background checks before selling them a firearm to an individual. This requirement applies no matter where the sale takes place – including gun shows. As noted above, those who are not firearms dealers (licensed or unlicensed) are not required to perform the background check. Consequently, if a private individual wants to sell their gun collection, he or she can rent a table at a gun show (if the promoter allows unlicensed individuals to rent tables) and they are subject to the same laws as if they sold the gun online, in a newspaper ad, to a hunting buddy or at a garage sale.
Gun control groups suggest that criminals prefer to get guns at gun shows and that closing the “loophole” is really just good crime prevention. However, government statistics actually prove that the number of criminals who get guns at gun shows is statistically insignificant. Bureau of Justice statistics show that less than .7% of criminals get their guns at gun shows. In the statistics, most criminals (78.8%) get their guns off the street or from family members. So, the real target, the primary victim of the “gun show loophole” claims are the law-abiding gun owners and enthusiasts.
But the December news reports proclaimed that former gun show promoter, Bob Pope, was himself proposing that there was a “gun show loophole” and that the State of Tennessee needed to pass legislation requiring that all individuals who do not have a federal firearms license would be prohibited from selling personal firearms at or about gun shows unless they do a TBI background check on the proposed purchaser.
Channel 5 news in Nashville ran this story:
by Amanda Hara
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Are gun shows a gateway for criminals to buy firearms? One local man thinks so.
For more than two decades, Bob Pope ran gun shows in the Mid-state.
But now he’s asking for a new law that would make sure convicted felons aren’t buying guns, or unloading stolen ones, at gun shows.
Bob Pope started running gun shows in 1983, and retired in 2008. During that time, he said he noticed a major flaw in the industry.
“If I was a criminal and I wanted to buy a high powered glock I would go to the Gun Show,” said Pope.
Pope said felons show up at gun shows to buy firearms; not from dealers who require a background check, but from other patrons of the show because they know a background check isn’t required for a private party sale.
Pope proposed a new law that would require background checks on any gun sale at gun shows, even transactions between private parties. Not just to prevent felons from getting guns, but also to protect buyers.
“I like that I do not wish to buy a stolen gun because in the future I could lose that gun if I ever had it run I could lose the gun,” said Pope.
Local gun dealers seemed on board with the proposal.
Chris Tenpenny owns Nashville Sporting Arms.
“The background check is not just a thing that’s done on the individual it’s also running the background history on the gun. The last thing I’d want to do is go to a gun show and buy a gun from an individual that was used in a crime or was stolen. You don’t know anything about that gun or where it came from,” he said.
Of course none of this is going over well with some gun advocates
But Pope said he’s as pro-gun as they come and a strong advocate of the second amendment.
Pope said, “This deal is a crime prevention thing that makes sure convicted felons are not buying their guns illegally that’s all it is.”
Pope said he’d like to see Gun Show Organizers pay the TBI to set up one agent at every show who background checks every gun that’s bought and sold. Pope said those with Carry Permits would be exempt from paying a $10 fee for the check.
Similarly, the Tennessean newspaper reported that Bob Pope had met with Congressman Jim Cooper (oh, another noted supporter of the Second Amendment) to discuss his proposal to close the “loophole”. Gail Kerr, of the Tennessan, reported in her column:
Let there be no doubt: Bob Pope is a gun-packing Republican. The sixth-generation Tennessean is a Newt Gingrich-supporting Second Amendment advocate who ran gun shows for 25 years.
But he said his buddies in the Tennessee Firearms Association are irritated by his one-man campaign to close the so-called “gun show loophole,” which he claims allows murderers and thieves to buy stolen guns.
“If I was going to buy an illegal gun, I’d go to a gun show and buy it,” said Pope, a towering man perched on an old-fashioned wing chair in the formal living room of his Hermitage home near the Wilson County line.
The two-story Colonial stays locked behind a wrought-iron driveway gate sporting decorative replicas of handguns. Clocks bong the hour. Bright-colored silk roses are perched in a vase. Pope looked like John Wayne visiting his grandmother’s parlor as he explained his plan.
He met with U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper but decided his best bet was with the state legislature. He has meetings set up with GOP lawmakers. Given a chance, he’d testify.
“I started doing gun shows in 1983, sold out in 2008,” Pope said. “I saw the gun shows change, really not for the good.”
The three-day shows, held at expos and fairgrounds, allow dealers and individuals to buy, sell and trade guns.
“Currently, I would estimate, on the low side, there are over 100 gun shows across the state of Tennessee every year,” Pope said. “On the low side, there are 1,000 guns without any records sold at every show, every day.”
There’s no way to prove that, because statistics on those sales don’t exist.
Licensed dealers are allowed to buy and sell at the shows. If you buy a gun from them, they run a check with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to make sure that you are at least 18 and not a felon, and that the gun was not stolen. This costs the buyer $10.
But if an individual sells a gun to a buyer at a gun show, there are no checks. That’s the loophole Pope wants changed. Every gun sale at a show should require the duel TBI check, he says.
Pope says the system allows people who break into houses and steal guns to easily resell them. It allows felons to buy guns.
Not ‘gun control’ but ‘crime control’
“I’m hard-core Second Amendment,” said Pope, a boisterous and opinionated man. “But I also believe citizens should be able to walk around or sit on their front porch without bullets flying.”
Criminals, he said, “should not have guns. This tells the purchaser at a gun show he’s buying a clean gun. It tells felons to find somewhere else to go.”
The money from the $10 fee would pay for the TBI to do the extra checks, he said.
“It’s the only way you can control gun violence in this state.”
The Republican-led legislature has a task force about to debate a slew of gun laws. Most would loosen things up.
As far as Pope is concerned, legal owners should be able to carry their gun anywhere they want. But the gun show loophole needs to be closed.
Isn’t that somewhat ironic? He doesn’t see it.
“What I’m talking about hasn’t a darn thing to do with gun control,” Pope said. “It has to do with crime control.”