published Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Tennessee gun-rights chief says ‘crucifix’ remarks misconstrued

House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville speaks to reporters in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville speaks to reporters in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)

NASHVILLE — The head of a state gun-rights group says critics are misconstruing his email attack against House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart as a threat of physical violence.

On Tuesday, Tennessee Firearms Association Executive Director John Harris sent a mass email to supporters. In it, he blamed Maggart for attempts to torpedo bills backed by the association and the National Rifle Association that forces employers to let workers and others store their loaded guns in locked vehicles on owners’ parking lots.

In that email, Harris said Maggart’s “political career needs to end much as the Romans crucified criminals.” He also said a “used crucifix” should be hung at the state Capitol’s entrance as a warning.

Maggart told The Associated Press “that some people are concerned for my safety. We’re going to look at that, but I don’t know.”

In a later email, Harris said “sometimes those of us deeply committed to our cause use words, phrases or analogies that, though they might paint a picture familiar to us and those with similar experiences, are misunderstood, taken out of context or that simply otherwise cause consternation for others.

“Perhaps another analogy may have been better understood or received,” Harris added.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, Tuesday night announced he was abandoning his efforts to force an additional Senate vote to bring both bills to the Senate floor.

The move came after the House Calendar and Rules late in the day voted to send the measures off to a summer study committee.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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