Gun money is running rampant in Tennessee.
From billboards here to the General Assembly in Nashville, gun and ammunition supporters are clearly spending some bucks to whip up more fear and sell more guns and ammo.
When they use a photo of the master of haters, Adolf Hitler, along with a made-up quote on a U.S. Highway 27 billboard, you know they've pulled out all the stops.
Like three-quarters of the incendiary email pass-along messages that float through inboxes every day, the quote about Hitler praising Germany for adopting the first ever gun registration program is probably not even real.
"Hitler's infamous quote ... is probably a fraud and likely never uttered," said Bernard Harcourt, chairman of the department of political science at the University of Chicago in 2004.
But that's not all. There's also Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who this week said Tennessee's new gun law allowing handgun carry-permit holders to keep weapons in their vehicles needs tweaking.
It seems the state's attorney general "muddied the waters" when he ruled the new statute would have no impact on employers ability to fire workers who violated company policy by having guns in the company parking lot, Ramsey said.
Ramsey says he "probably" would support an anticipated push to clarify the statute in the next legislative session. The expected change would be to stipulate that an employer could not fire a carry-permit holder solely for having a handgun in a locked vehicle.
If they do this, Ramsey and the bill's supporters would be turning a deaf ear to the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents, and numerous other large employers in the state.
Why? Because gun money is important in Tennessee, and gun groups like the National Rifle Association make no secret about supporting or opposing politicians depending on how they vote on gun issues.
Remember the orange-haired gunman who fatally shot 12 people and wounded 58 others in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last July? That gunman, who now is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity, got his 170 pounds of ammo from a Knoxville company, according to an investigative news story published last week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Every mass shooting is followed briefly with revived talk about banning certain guns or magazines, but never the ammo stockpiles. In fact, little is ever said about where these people get their bullets.
Federal law doesn't require a background check to buy ammo, and there is no need for a license to buy or sell bullets. There are also no limits on how much ammo can be bought. Nor is there any federal requirement to keep sales records. (Although, there is a move in other states to change that.)
But in Tennessee, our lieutenant governor is pushing to loosen gun laws while restricting the rights of private business owners and all employers. If Ramsey has his way, employers soon will have no say about whether guns can be in cars parked in their parking lots.
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