Press release from the Tennessee Firearm Association; March 21, 2012:
Time to Oppose Senate Sponsor’s Proposed Amendment to SB3002?
In a word, YES.
During the last 24 hours, over 4,000 thousands of emails were sent by firearms owners to the General Assembly to support the Employee Safe Commute legislation. So, what happened?
First, the bills were rolled in the Senate. Of note, however, the Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion (No. 12-40)that the Employee Safe Commute legislation is not subject to constitutional attack as an unconstitutional interference with real property rights – but we already knew that.
Second, an announcement was made that the House bills, which were set for this morning, are being rolled because the subcommittee was canceled. Sounds predictable if you do not want these bills to have any recorded vote.
Third, news reports surfaced Tuesday afternoon, that Sen. Mike Faulk has indicated that he plans to amend his bill. Amendments apparently demanded by the Governor and Republican leadership in the House and Senate. According to statements in a Tennessean report (similar reports surfaced in news sources across the state),
Faulk said the new proposal will apply only to people with handgun carry permits and also will contain exceptions suggested by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam and the GOP legislative leadership.
Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey of Blountville has said he wants the measure to apply only to permit holders, and he and fellow Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville have called for incorporating several exceptions included in a 2008 Georgia law, such as secure parking areas and visitors’ parking spots. Georgia also allows employers to ban workers from bringing weapons onto company property if they have been subject to disciplinary action.
Haslam has said the current measure is “a little too broad.”
“The amendments will address the concerns about it being too broad that have been expressed by both speakers and the governor,” Faulk told reporters after the meeting Tuesday night. “And then I believe we’ll be off and running.”
So, Senator Faulk is announcing that he is making amendments in accordance with the demands of Lt. Gov. Ramsey, the Governor, Speaker Beth Harwell and, through them, Big Business. The proposal, which is yet unseen by those outside the Legislature, would dilute the bill to one so rife with ambiguity that its more likely to result in an effort by firearms owners to stop it than to accept it and perhaps even a court challenge on ambiguity. For example, a “permit holder only” provision would prohibit those who recreationally shoot or hunt from having those types of weapons in their personal vehicles whereas other recreational or sporting items such as golf clubs, softball gear, would be allowed. Similarly, restrictions based on fenced parking areas, employees subject to any prior discipline, etc., do nothing to protect workers who commute to those locations and can cause great confusion on whteher such locations are or are not within the definitions set forth in the anticipated amendment.
It is a bad concept. It is nothing but appeasement by these Republican leaders to the “Golden Goose” of corporate money. It is evidence of their willingness to sacrifice public safety, individual safety and the safety of employees to appease corporations even when the State’s Attorney General states in a written opinion that such a law would be fully constitutional and does not constitute a material infringement on property rights. Can they truly be Pro-Second Amendment if they are willing to trade those rights for mere money from sources that do not even had the right to vote?
It is time to call and email the sponsor himself and ask him to stand true to the constitution and the rights of the citizens. Ask him to avoid the temptation of bowing to the Golden Goose of Big Business funding which has already apparently had its intended impact on the Governor and Republican Leadership.
I respect Mike Faulk but we need to make sure that he specifically understands the desires of the voters before this proposed amendment (if it is not already a “back room done deal”) moves any further.
Senator Mike Faulk, R-Church Hill
District 4 — Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, and Union Counties
112 East Main Blvd.
Church Hill, TN 37642
Phone (423) 357-8088