Newsletter from the Tennessee Firearms Association; April 9, 2012:
What is wrong with this picture?
For years the Republicans were in the minority in state Government. That had been the case largely since the Civil War. In that minority status, they would champion almost any conservative, grassroots topic including lower taxes, smaller government, right to life, strong immigration standards, education reform and others. Three specific areas claimed as the principle domain of Republicans while they were in the minority were the Bible, the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment. God, Country and Guns – in that order.
Now, keep in mind that political parties in the minority seldom are flush with money from Big Business, Big Insurance and Big Medicine because, frankly, those interests are not aligned with core constitutional, Biblical or conservative issues. Those interests, one may infer, invest them time and money in legislative races for one reason – to purchase the laws and regulations that most benefit their business interests and in some instances the personal interests of a handful in charge at the very top. The “Biggies” do not have the right to vote. However, the “Biggies” do have the money that it takes to buy what votes cannot deliver – access to legislators and the commitment from legislators to do whatever the “Biggies” require. Votes to not overload campaign accounts (particularly at the leadership level). Votes do not pay for trips or vacations disguised as “learning” trips. Votes do not purchase support from peers in the legislature when its time to decide on leaders. Money from the “Biggies” either facilitate or control these activities.
We have seen this drama play out over the last 2 years in the battle over the right of self-defense versus what the “Biggies” have called their “real property rights.” As an aside, ask yourself when is the last time the “Biggies” spent this much time advocating for laws that primarily protected the real property rights of homeowner/voters?
The Employee Safe Commute law is law in at least 16 states. It has been filed as legislation in at least the last 4 legislative years and has been a topic of discussion for at least 10 years. Lt. Gov. Ramsey himself promised TFA in 2010 that “they” would pass the Employee Safe Commute law in 2011 if TFA “stood down” so that the Republicans could work on other issues since they now had “the power” that comes with majority status.
Perhaps Lt. Gov. Ramsey spoke before he knew to what extent the “Biggies” seriously opposed to the safe commute of their employees to and from work. As the minions of the “Biggies” have plied their trade in the halls of the Legislature (although probably more commonly at expensive “functions” and private events outside of the openness of the cameras in the halls and chambers of the legislature), we have seen an increasing resistance from Republicans who love to tought themselves as “good” on the 2nd Amendment. Perhaps what they meant was that they were “good” on the 2nd Amendment so long as the “Biggies” and their money were not too opposed to the idea.
This past week, for example, it is reported that several in leadership, including Lt. Gov. Ramsey and Sen. Ketron were quite upset with the fact that the Senate Judiciary had voted favorably on SB3002 (by Faulk). That report, from several sources, might be confirmed by 2 additional facts. First, Lt. Gov. Ramsey telling TNReport.com that he opposed the amendment by Sen. Campfield and approved by the Senate Judiciary that hunters could be trusted to securely store their hunting firearms in their personal vehicles during those times when they might want to hunt before or after work (like the present turkey season). That should make Tennessee’s licensed hunters feel like they have a strong friend right there, yes sir. The second hint was another a video taped comment by Speaker Beth Harwell that the parking lot bill is dead according to statements made to her by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
It was interesting that this admission by Harwell came at the end of the week where reports were released from House members that the “Bass” version of the Employee Safe Commute bill would be shotgunned through a House subcommittee and full committee on Tuesday of this week. Perhaps that was allowed by Leadership once it was determined that the Senate version was “dead” and that therefore allowing the House version of the bill to move would be polticially useful for some legislators in an election year and that no harm could come from allowing an already dead Senate bill to move forward pointlessly in a House committee.
What the last 2 years have shown is that Republican leadership is not committed to protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens if “Big Business” dangles the money that it controls. What the last 2 years are also showing is that too many caucus members are willing to let 2nd Amendment rights be bargained and sold by Leadership when convenient or politically necessary. Since the voters will not out spend the “Biggies”, voters must use what they have – the vote – the deal with those who have misplaced priorities to money rather than the Constitutional rights of citizens.
Call to Action – NOW!
We also still have the TFA Action Center email campaign operational. With it you can send an email to your House member, your Senate member, each member of each involved 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.
Also, these events make it important that we raise funds for the TFA PAC so that we can help to financially support not only the campaigns of those who have stood firm, particularly against the mandates of leadership, but also to support those who would challenge these “conservatives in name only” during election cycles. As with Speaker Naifeh, we might not defeat Speaker Harwell in an election but we can certainly defeat enough of those in the caucus who would return her to power.
The TFA website has been updated so that you can make your PAC contributions online and on an automatically recurring basis. We do not anticipate that we will raise the money that Federal Express, Brigestone, Nissan and others have invested to infringe your rights. We do know, however, that we can raise money to defeat some of those rank and file members who have shown a willingness to support the House Republican leadership that are working non-stop to appease Big Business and destroy your rights. It is how we stopped Jimmy Naifeh and it is how we can stop those legislators who are willing to ignore your 2nd Amendment rights whenever the green cash of Big Business is dangled like a carrot ahead of them.