Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; March 10, 2012:
The Constitution v. Big Business – Republican Leadership sides with Big Business
Repbulican leadership in the General Assembly, primarily in the House under the heavy hand of Beth Harwell, Debra Maggart and Gerald McCormick have made it clear that they are aligned with the money from Big Business and are willing to disregard the clause in the 2nd Amendment which provides that the right of self-defense “shall not be infringed.” They totally ignore Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee Constitution. Thus, these elected officials are willing to impair the capacity of Tennesseans to provide for their own self-defense by commuting to and from work while legally armed. They are willing to effectively deny citizens the capacity legally carry a firearm in their personal cars without fear of losing their jobs or being criminally prosecuted.
This disregard of your ability to defend yourself going to and from work cannot be overstated or disregarded.
To address the risk that current law places on citizens simply going to and from work, TFA has pushed for changes in the law to enable employees to legally carry in their personal transportation a weapon and to leave that weapon secured in their personal transportation while at work. HB3560 and SB 3002 are bills address this problem by prohibiting employers from prohibiting citizens from keeping legally transported firearms securely stored in the employee’s private vehicle.
Big Business employers including Federal Express, Nissan, and numerous others are using their substantial financial resources to buy the votes of your elected representatives. One Big Business spokesperson testified in the Senate Judiciary Committee that thousands of employees pose a risk if firearms are nearby because they are too likely to engage in violence at work. Senator Mike Bell was able to get the Federal Express spokesperson to admit that Federal Express (and presumably other Big Business as well) has significant business operations in at least 16 other states that have some form of safe commute laws already enacted. This Federal Express spokesperson – and for that matter no Big Business spokesperson – could not cite a single problem that has arisen because of those state laws.
House Republican leadership and presumably cohorts in the Senate are dancing like puppets in the financial purse strings of Big Business – and abrogating their oaths and obligations to the citizens – to defeat the Employee Safe Commute bill. This Axis of Evil is teaming with Big Business to distribute lie-filled propaganda to legislators. The House Leadership are reportedly leaning heavily on – if not outright intimidating rank and file legislators – to “compromise” their principles and vote as demanded by leadership. This propaganda claims that permit holders, including the more than 340,000 Tennesseans who have permits, are such a violence-prone group that allowing them to commute to and from work while legally armed will result in streets of blood, huge losses of human life or injury and devasting financial costs to employers. Really? That sounds like the same false prophecies that we hear from opponents – those who lack the capacity to trust those who put them in office – that we hear with any law that would have the effect of enabling a citizen to select an effective means of self-defense. Its the “Chicken Little” opposition strategy and sadly some Tennesseans buy into the foolishness.
Some opposition to the Safe Commute Act also claim that it unacceptably violates private property rights. This simple minded argument assumes that the issue is a zero sum analysis where its all or nothing in the balance of self-defense rights versus real property rights. They do not or cannot deal with the truth that the legislation merely seeks to establish a reasonable balance between the self-defense needs of citizen employees and the already heavily regulated (by the same government officials) ownership interests of parking lot owners. While the opponents may not consider the right to self-defense a factor of any significance, citizens who are at risk for car jackings, rape, robbery and murder while commuting do.
As noted below, there are two House bills related to this issue on notice this week on March 14 in the House Employee and Consumer Affairs subcommittee. HB3560 is carried by Rep. Eddie Bass and is the bill that House Leadership is trying its best to belittle and kill with the help of its Big Business financial supporters. This is the bill that we want to PASS. The other bill is HB3660 which is now being carried by House Leadership member Gerald McCormick. We are told that this bill is subject to amendment and, in the nature of Pelosi, the House Leadership does not want to share the proposed amendment so that the citizens can read it before its introduced.
Well sourced information indicates that HB3560 is going to be under heavy handed opposition from House Leadership including possible Naifeh-style leadership votes to make sure the bill is defeated in a subcommittee so that it never has the opportunity for a floor vote. Realizing that the bill already has 30+ sponsors, that is mere shenanigans by House leaders to kill a bill that they KNOW will pass if its comes to a full vote of all 99 Representatives. Its a denial of a Representative form of government because the elected representatives of most Tennesseans will be denied the opportunity to record their votes on the right of self-defense.
It is important to demand the passage of HB3560 and to demand the defeat of HB3660.
Call all members of the House Consumer and Employee Affairs subcommittee. Demand in particular that the committee chair push this bill to the full committee. Subcommittee members are
Mark White, Chair
Jimmy Matlock, Vice-Chair
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.
This is a major line in the sand for Tennessee’s firearms owners and conservatives. House Republican leadership (and those who vote those individuals into power) have now crossed the line that defines constitutional conservatives from those legislators who are merely in power to sell their votes to the highest bidders. Please considering donating to the TFA to help bring these messages to more Tennessee conservatives and handgun permit holders. We need to grow our numbers, our presence, our members and our PAC.
You can make your PAC contributions online and on an automatically recurring basis.