Education NewsTracker

Casada Looks Forward to Quizzing Textbook Commission

Rep. Glen Casada says he has a lot of questions for the State Textbook Commission due to what he calls “biased” material in the social studies books currently being used by Tennessee schoolchildren.

The Joint Subcommittee of Government Operations is scheduled to meet Wednesday with and review the governor-appointed panel and decide whether it should continue to exist, or whether reforms of some sort are warranted. Casada, the House GOP caucus chairman, said the discussion should prove interesting.

“The chairman of the committee, Sen. Mike Bell, is going to allow parents from across the state to give testimony as to the bias they see in their textbooks in their home counties,” said Casada. Bell is a Republican from Riceville.

Casada, who serves with Bell on the committee, said he doesn’t at this point have any preconceived ideas about what should happen after the meeting. He said he’s “just curious as to what the Textbook Commission is going to say,” that he’s hoping for answers to “allegations” that some textbooks public schools are using in Tennessee are ideologically prejudiced against capitalism and Western Culture.

Casada said he has reviewed two social studies textbooks and both “put in bad light the free-market system.”

“There are dozens, and I mean literally dozens, of examples of bias,” he said. “For example, there’s a question that’s just stated as a fact that capitalism is one of the causes of poverty. Well, that’s insane. Capitalism is what gets us out of poverty. It’s socialism that puts us in poverty. Yet no where in this textbook is that example given.”

Additionally, Casada takes issue with the books’ depiction of “foreign despots,” such as Mao Tse Tung. Casada said the communist dictator “is uplifted as a man who brought education and health care to his people in China.”

“But nowhere in that page when they talk about the Cultural Revolution do they mention the millions of people he killed,” said Casada.

Tennessee law requires representatives from most state agencies to appear before the Legislature periodically to justify their work and why the agency or commission is still needed. Casada said he finds selection of the textbook commission unusual because, unlike with other boards and commissions, there’s no involvement of the Legislature.

NewsTracker Transparency and Elections

‘Repealer’ Legislation in Limbo

A General Assembly effort to create a specific government post responsible for detecting and trimming unnecessary or redundant government functions and regulations is bogged down and may be headed to a legislative conference committee.

Early in the day Wednesday Senate Bill 595 sponsor Sen. Jack Johnson made a motion to non-concur with an amendment that rewrote House Bill 500. The motion passed on a voice vote.

Later, Rep. Glen Casada’s made a motion in the House to “refuse to recede from our action,” sending the bill back to the Senate on Thursday. No vote was taken; it was simply accepted by Speaker of the House Beth Harwell.

The so-called “Repealer” would be to go through Tennessee code and make recommendations to the Legislature on laws, rules and regulations that need to be scrubbed or modified because they are no longer relevant, overly burdensome or outdated.

The conflict between the two versions occurred when the Senate passed the original bill drafted by Casada, a Republican from Franklin, in March. That legislation that would have placed the Office of the Repealer in the Secretary of State’s office and for a period of only four years.

Meanwhile, over on the House side, Casada drafted an amendment that changed the bill, making it a permanent position in the Office of Legal Services, with Director Joe Barnes overseeing the work using existing staff in the summer and fall when the General Assembly is not in session.

“In speaking to the Speaker of the House and seeking the opinion of several in the House, the House just wanted to keep it totally under legislative purview,” said the representative from Franklin following Monday’s session.

Casada also explained that Johnson, also a Republican from Franklin, had moved the bill through the Senate before he had a chance to talk to him about the changes.

Following Wednesday’s sessions, Casada told that the next step is for House Bill 500, as amended, to go back to the Senate. If the upper chamber votes to non-concur again, the bill will return to the House where Casada will ask for a conference committee to be formed in an attempt to try and work out the differences between the two bodies.

Amelia Morrison Hipps may be reached at, on Twitter @DwnHomePolitics or at 615-442-8667.

Press Releases

Occupy Nashville Targets Rep. Casada

Press Release from Occupy Nashville, Dec. 13, 2013:

Occupy Nashville: Bill to Forbid Living Wage Bad for Tennessee’s Workers;

Occupy Nashville to Stand with Steelworkers in Solidarity Protests this Week

Occupy Nashville stands firmly against any legislation that would impair cities’ ability to decide for themselves whether workers can be paid a “living wage”—wages above the federal and state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

Rep. Glen Casada, R-College Grove, said on Monday that he would favor legislation that would prevent cities like Nashville from protecting workers’ wages. Nashville has yet to enact an ordinance that sets the minimum amount a worker can be paid higher than the federal minimum, but Memphis currently requires its contractors to give employees a living wage between $10 and $12 per hour. His proposal, if enacted, would nullify Memphis’ ordinance and prevent other cities from taking similar actions to improve wages for working-class people.

Occupy Nashville advocates for the 99% of workers who are being extorted by bloated corporations to deflate workers’ wages while raking in enormous profits for corporate shareholders and CEOs. Occupy Nashville and the Occupy Wall Street movement have stated from their beginnings that they are fundamentally opposed to corporations’ marriage to government, and we decry corporate influence over legislators.

While disappointed, we are not shocked by Casada’s out-of-touch comments. In an interview with The Knoxville News-Sentinel this April, Casada blatantly exclaimed, “More money is more free speech,” demonstrating his belief that money and speech are identical.

We could not disagree more. Occupy Nashville maintains that money is not speech and that our politicians should be responsible to the people, not just the people with the most money.

Once again, politicians like Casada, who have been bought wholesale by corporate interests, are putting profits before people.

Casada said in an interview with WSMV-TV that cities’ choice to increase the minimum wage paid to employers will “drive up costs and … kill jobs.”

What really drives up costs is corporations taking bailout money and awarding themselves gigantic bonuses in return.

Casada was a major proponent last year of a law prohibiting cities from including gender identity and sexual orientation in anti-discrimination ordinances. That law nullified a groundbreaking Nashville ordinance requiring employers to refrain from discriminating against LGBT persons.

Occupy Nashville believes that cities are in a position to make decisions like these for themselves, and much like Gov. Bill Haslam’s heavy-handed treatment of our peaceful protesters on Legislative Plaza this October, Casada’s actions demonstrate that the leaders of our state—who ran for office on “small government”—are all too eager to interfere with local autonomy.

Occupy Nashville to Support Steelworkers against Cooper Tire

After a lengthy dispute over the contract governing the long-term obligations of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. to its employees, the company locked out more than 1,000 hourly workers at the company’s plant in Findlay, Ohio, over Thanksgiving weekend.

In response to Cooper Tire’s greed, Occupy Nashville protesters will join in solidarity with United Steelworkers Local 1055, which represents tire and rubber workers in Middle Tennessee, in peaceful demonstrations at Cooper Tire locations in Nashville this week.

Steelworkers and Occupy Nashville protesters will distribute literature at Best One Tire, 1705 West End, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday. On Thursday, protesters will take action at Best One’s location at 421 Harding Place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Press Releases

TFA Fears GOP Will Avoid Gun Rights Legislation Again in 2012

Newsletter from the Tennessee Firearms Association; Dec. 7, 2011:

Republican Party House Caucus

After the less than triumphant 2011 Legislative session in the Tennessee House under the leadership of Speaker Beth Harwell, it appeared that perhaps the rank and file House Republicans realized the impact that their “omissions” had had on the firearms owners of Tennessee who helped put them into office. On July 13, 2011, Rep. Gerald McCormick (House Republican Caucus Leader) released a letter to caucus members in which he announced the creation of the “Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force” (for the House of Representatives). That letter provides (with some emphasis added)

Fellow Caucus Members:

I hope that this letter finds you well. I am very proud of the great things we accomplished together during this past legislative session, and confident that we will continue that positive momentum when we return in January. In order to accomplish that goal, it is vital that we devote time during recess to study important issues that impact all those that live across our great state.

With that in mind, I am writing this letter to advise you that I am appointing a Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force. The rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are sacred to many citizens, and we must ensure we craft responsible legislation to protect those rights. This task force will be responsible for studying current state laws to identify if any changes may need to be made. In addition, it will meet with outside groups to gain a better understanding of these issues. The task force will report back to members of the Republican Caucus with results of their study.

The Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force will consist of the following members:

Rep. Curry Todd, Chairman

Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny

Rep. Joshua Evans

Rep. Andy Holt

Rep. Barrett Rich

Rep. Glen Casada

Rep. John Forgety

Please feel free to contact members of this task force if you have any additional questions about this important issue.

On July 14, 2011, TFA sent an email to all members of the Republican caucus task force as well as to House leaders and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. That communication outlined the issues that TFA has focused on during the last 16 years and also the issues on which we had prioritized some legislative focus.

Recently, TFA was asked if we had looked forward to progress with Republican control of state government in 2011 as a “perfrect storm” and by most respects one could say that in 2010 that was the perspective and hope for 2011. TFA had hope that the years of promises from the Republican leadership would materialize. Indeed, Tennesseans have been told by Speaker Harwell that the House Republican Caucus is 100% for the Second Amendment. But, sadly, we knew from her own votes that this could not be true. We can look at what was introduced and failed to pass in 2011 in the House to gauge the factual accuracy of her assertion. We can now look back at 2011 and assess that the predicted “perfect storm” was perhaps a drizzle at best. It does have to be viewed with rememberance of who is in leadership. At this point, we can look forward with caution to 2012 to see if 2011 was a mere oversight or whether it was an intended disregard of prior political promises.

Nevertheless, as the July announcement of the House Republican caucus task force was made, the announcement itself gave some evidence that Rep. McCormick was aware of 2011, the response of Tennessee’s gun owners to the 2011 legislative events, and the need to take seriously the task of evaluated state law in light of the constitutionally protected rights of citizens. TFA realized that the actions of this task force concerning how seriously it undertakes the task of removing infringements and enabling law abiding citizens to purchase, own, possess, carry, use, hunt with and recreationally enjoy firearms as well as the actions of the Republican Caucus in response to the task force’s anticipated report would be a benchmark for the 2012 legislative session as well as the 2012 elections.

The initial meeting of the task force was cancelled almost immediately after the chairman of the task force was arrested in Nashville on DUI charges and also charged with possession of a handgun while under the influence of alcohol. Most unfortunate from many perspectives.

News reports (e.g., Chattanooga Times Free Press) initially indicated that Rep. McCormick was going to cancel the task force. Then, within a few days, news reports stated that Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, who has a solid record supporting Second Amendment rights, had offered to chair the task force and continue with the mission. It was said that the task force would meet at some point after Thanksgiving. Although TFA’s leadership had been in contact with ALL task force members, none of them notified TFA’s leadership that the task force had scheduled a meeting for Monday following Thanksgiving. One TFA director received a call sometime on the Sunday perhaps less than 24 hours prior to the meeting and was able to make arrangements to be there. However, there was NO general notice that the task force was meeting and it was poorly attended. It was not video streamed. It met briefly and was only partially attended by those appointed to serve on it. It has been reported that one or more additional meetings should be held. This effort, at this point, pales in comparision to the kinds of meetings that were held back in the 1996 time frame when the Speaker’s office directed that the House Judiciary actually conduct hearings and a study on fixing the handgun permit law.

So, as mid-December is upon us, the constitutionally based conservatives in Tennessee, Tennessee’s firearms owners, and those who had worked to place perceived conservatives in office, the image of what 2012 might bring is starting to emerge like a prophecy from the fog of the future and it seems disappointingly reflective of what happened in the Tennessee General Assembly in 2012. Perhaps that is exactly the commandment coming from the Speaker’s office and from some of the others in leadership.

Rather than a year of legislative success, 2012 may well turn into a year where once again constitutionally based conservatives will be looking for candidates in primaries and general elections who will – independent of party designation – honor, uphold and respect not only the constitutions but the rights that these constitutions themselves recognize as pre-existing and otherwise established.

A word of clarification — there are some members of the legislature, including some in leadership, who feel that TFA and gunowners are being unfair on Republicans. They assert that the Republican caucuses are the “best friend” of Tennessee’s conservatives, gun owners and even TFA. By “best friend”, they may really mean “better than the Democrat caucus”. It is perfectly clear by their own actions which individuals in the General Assembly and other parts of state government are truly conservatives who take the oath to uphold the Constitution – all of the Constitution – as a bedrock on which the sacrifices of public service and stewardship must be based. It is also abundantly clear which individuals in state government are not “100%” behind the Second Amendment and instead use it perhaps as nothing more than a part of the campaign “toolkit” to get and keep political power.

Gun Show Promoter Declares “Gun Show Loophole” Exists

This week, the Tennessean and local news stations have been giddy with reports that a former gun show promoter and Second Amendment advocate has announced that there is in fact a “gun show loophole” and has 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.

This week’s news reports proclaim that former gun show promoter, Bob Pope, is himself proposing that there is a “gun show loophole” and that the State of Tennessee needs 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. It raises the questionof whether this is sadly more 2nd Amendment infringements from a former promoter or perhaps just a means of protecting the financial interests of those licensed dealers who pay gun show promoters for tables?

It is interesting that on one of the TV news reports, the other person interviewed was a gun store owner – someone who might benefit at a gun show from eliminating or minimizing the ability of private citizens to engage in “casual sales”. Chris Tenpenny at Nashville Sporting Arms apparently supports Bob Pope’s idea that the casual sale exception which has been a part of federal law since, well since federal law starting regulating the sales of firearms, should be amended to require that all sales of guns by individuals must go through background checks – at least if the individual wants to sell a personal firearm in or at a gun show.

Channel 5 news in Nashville ran this story: … -criminals

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 this week that Bob Pope has 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.”

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Press Releases

TNDP: Republicans Need to Get Real on Unemployment Issues

Press Release from the Democratic Party of Tennessee, Sept. 9, 2011:

1-in-10 hunting for jobs—Republican lawmaker says Tennessee ‘too easy’ on job seekers

NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester called out Republican lawmakers Thursday for being “out of touch with reality” on growing the state economy and assisting Tennessee’s 300,000 job seekers.

“We don’t have a shortage of work ethic in Tennessee, we have a shortage of work. We have roads and bridges to fix, safe energy to harness, and schools to rebuild,” Forrester said. “Instead of playing politics and mocking people who have lost their jobs by no fault of their own, Republicans should want to work with Democrats in finding ways to make Tennessee work again for Tennesseans.”

In August, Wacker Chemie, a Germany-based company that former Gov. Phil Bredesen recruited to set up in Bradley County, reportedly accepted 10,000 applications for 130 positions.

Forrester’s statement comes after a comment made Thursday by Republican state Rep. Jimmy Matlock. Matlock said Tennessee’s 306,000 job seekers weren’t actually looking for work because they have no incentive to find a job.

“We’re making it too easy,” Matlock said in reference to the extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.

In Tennessee, the maximum unemployment insurance benefit is $1,100 a month or less. That’s at the poverty line.

“The truth is Tennesseans want to work, and Democrats won’t rest until every Tennessean who wants to work has a job,” Forrester said. “Irresponsible comments like the one from Mr. Matlock just reaffirm how out of touch with reality Republicans have become.”

On Wednesday Democratic members of the state House and Senate announced a six-day jobs tour across the state Sept. 19-24 to talk to business owners, local officials and the public about how to best grow jobs in Tennessee.

Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris accused his Democratic colleagues of using the tour for politics.

“That’s a rich accusation coming from Sen. Norris considering his party killed a dozen Democratic jobs bills this year and did absolutely nothing on their own to grow the economy,” Forrester said. “Sen. Norris and Gov. Bill Haslam are obviously waiting for Santa to leave jobs under the tree this Christmas.

“Republicans continue to sit on their hands and call it leadership,” Forrester said. “It’s past time Republicans stopped complaining about the government, and started focusing on running it well.”

FACTS: Plenty of work ethic, not enough work

  • In Bradley County, Wacker Chemie has received 10,000 applications and made 130 hires. [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 8/17/11]
  • In Knox County, 700 students attend a jobs fair at UT Knoxville [Daily Beacon, 8/26/11]
  • In Robertson County, 400 people turned out for a job fair [, 8/17/11]
  • In Hamilton County, received 4,300 applications in two days. [Memphis Business Journal, 5/18/11]
  • In Rutherford County, 800 people apply for teaching positions. [Daily News Journal, 5/15/11]
  • In Knox County, Jobs News’ drew more than 1,400 job seekers. [WVLT, 5/4/11]
  • In Tullahoma, 60 people applied for 10 jobs — at McDonalds. [Tullahoma News & Guardian, 4/28/11]
  • In Montgomery County, “thousands of people” attend a two-day job fair in Clarksville. [The Leaf-Chronicle, 4/28/11]
  • In Shelby County, more than 20,000 job-seekers applied over 14 days to work at a brewery that plans to hire 500 workers over the next five years. [The Memphis Commercial Appeal, 4/13/11]

Tennessee’s unemployment rate is 9.8%

That’s higher than the national average. 306,200 Tennesseans are still looking for jobs. [, 9/8/11]

RHETORIC: Tennessee Republicans eager to abandon and mock people who’ve lost their jobs.

Rep. Jimmy Matlock: “We’re making it too easy.” [Memphis Commercial Appeal, 9/8/11]

Rep. Glen Casada: “I would contend the answer to that is it’s up to individuals to help their family and their friends and neighbors who don’t have a job.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 5/20/11]

Rep. Tim Wirgau: “We got people who can’t find jobs, but we got more people who don’t look for jobs because we keep handing them money.” [Chattanooga Times Free Press, 5/20/11]

Press Releases

GOP Firearms Task Force Announced

Press Release from House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, July 13, 2011:

Majority Leader Gerald McCormick Appoints GOP Firearms Issue Task Force

(July 13, 2011, NASHVILLE) – On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R—Chattanooga) announced the appointment of seven Members of the House of Representatives to the Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force. The group is charged with “studying current State laws to identify if any changes may need to be made” and will meet with outside groups to “gain a better understanding” of the issues surrounding the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans.

Representative Curry Todd (R—Collierville) was named the Chairman of the Task Force. Additionally, Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny (R—Tullahoma), Representative Joshua Evans (R—Greenbrier), Representative Andy Holt (R—Dresden), Representative Barrett Rich (R—Somerville), Representative Glen Casada (R—Franklin), and Representative John Forgety (R—Athens) were named to the group. The Task Force intends to meet when other scheduled legislative committees meet such as the Fiscal Review Committee or summer study groups meet.

“This Task Force will study ways we can protect the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans and will make recommendations to our Majority about good public policy we all can support,” said Majority Leader McCormick. “I think this is a worthwhile effort to streamline the process and build consensus within the General Assembly. I look forward to hearing what Chairman Todd and the group report back to us.”

Rep. Todd explained, “It is an honor to lead this working group so our Majority can craft responsible public policy that reflects the values of Tennesseans. This group will work hard to make common sense recommendations to the Majority in order to build consensus about what our legislative priorities for firearms need to be next session. ”

Rep. Rich added, “This group will examine all perspectives on the issues surrounding firearms and the Second Amendment and that is always good for public policy. Tennessee is well-known as a State that promotes responsible firearm ownership and we need to make sure our laws reflect that principle. I will always advocate for our law-abiding citizens’ right to own a gun and this is a way to do just that.”

“This is a unique way for us to hear directly from Tennesseans about how we can protect and potentially strengthen their gun rights,” said Rep. Holt. “I believe we can build consensus by bringing all sides together and creating sensible policy proposals from their feedback.”

Leader McCormick announced the appointments in a letter to all Members of the House Republican Majority. The full text of the letter is below:

July 13, 2011 

Fellow Caucus Members: 

I hope that this letter finds you well. I am very proud of the great things we accomplished together during this past legislative session, and confident that we will continue that positive momentum when we return in January. In order to accomplish that goal, it is vital that we devote time during recess to study important issues that impact all those that live across our great state.

With that in mind, I am writing this letter to advise you that I am appointing a Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force. The rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment are sacred to many citizens, and we must ensure we craft responsible legislation to protect those rights. This task force will be responsible for studying current state laws to identify if any changes may need to be made. In addition, it will meet with outside groups to gain a better understanding of these issues. The task force will report back to members of the Republican Caucus with results of their study.

The Republican Caucus Firearms Issues Task Force will consist of the following members:

Rep. Curry Todd, Chairman

Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny

Rep. Joshua Evans

Rep. Andy Holt

Rep. Barrett Rich

Rep. Glen Casada

Rep. John Forgety

Please feel free to contact members of this task force if you have any additional questions about this important issue.


Gerald McCormick