published Sunday, April 13th, 2014

Welcome to the wild, wild west

Put the guns down!

It was beginning to look last week as though Georgia might out-dumb Tennessee on the gun-carry foolishness, but oh no — the hillbillies in Nashville are catching up.

Like a speeding bullet, the Tennessee Senate fired off a 25-2 vote Tuesday to allow any Tennessean who can legally have a firearm — i.e. anyone who is not a felon or a minor — to carry a handgun openly with no need for any state-issued permit.

That’s right. No permit. No background checks. No gun safety instruction. No $115 show-your-serious-about-being-law-abiding permit fee. Just get your gun and strap it on and go wherever you like.

The bill’s sponsor, Tennessee Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, was pleased that her Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act passed.

“Requiring Tennesseans to pay for and obtain a permit to publicly carry a handgun in all forms, including openly and while in a motor vehicle — current Tennessee law — converts the right to carry a handgun into a privilege,” Beavers said in a floor speech.

What about our privilege — let alone right — to be comfortable in a restaurant or bar? Oh, yeah, the gun-toter can’t tote his gun when he’s intoxicated so we should be safe, right? What’s a waiter to do? Say, “Excuse me, sir, before I bring your drink I have to ask: Do you have a gun?”

And by the privilege vs. right logic, we should expect Sen. Beavers and the lawmakers who voted for this to be doing away with our driver’s license law any day now. After all we all should have the right to drive without worrying about permits or testing or pesky training. And forget traffic lights. We shouldn’t have to wait for the right to drive straight through the intersection.

Voting for this incredibly dangerous and ridiculous bill wasn’t just the handiwork of some super right-wing, Middle Tennessee clatch of lawmakers. The yes votes included our own Sens. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga; Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga; Mike Bell, R-Riceville; Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma; and Ken Yager, R-Harriman. What were you folks smoking?

The House version has been sitting in the chamber’s budget subcommittee, but last week there still was some disagreement among lawmakers about whether it has enough votes to pass the panel. Given how quickly this shot through the Senate, no one should discount the campaign contribution clout of the National Rifle Association.

But, politics aside, let’s be clear: This legislation essentially makes it perfectly legal to carry a gun anywhere. Church? Yep. Work? Yep. School grounds? Apparently. With no background checks.

What’s not clear are all the unintended consequences. Do we think another Volkswagen or auto supplier will come to Tennessee if this becomes law? Remember — we already have the title of No. 1 state in violent crime.

So now let’s talk about whipping up fear. Let’s talk about feeling that if everyone else has a gun and you don’t, you’re so naked. Let’s talk about a gun-maker’s and gun-seller’s dream come true. This is one the gun lobby has bought and paid for.

After the Sandy Hook school shooting, gun control lobbying expenditures jumped from almost nothing to about $1 million in 2012, according to the Sunlight Foundation. But gun rights lobbying expenditures, which had averaged about $5 million a year since the Columbine shooting in 1999, suddenly shot up to just under $10 million.

Now, there’s your smoking gun.

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aae1049 said...

Citizen disarmament is bad for the safety of great citizens. After all, the criminals are not Appling for carry permits, only law abiding citizens.

The greatest gun slinger of all times is government.

April 13, 2014 at 9:32 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Please, tell us, aae, who is even talking about taking away your guns?? Certainly not Obama. He never even mentions guns or gun control except in the immediate aftermath of the latest mass shooting, and then he has never so much as hinted at disarmament of citizens, only some restrictions put on semi-automatic and automatic weapons. And then he lets even that suggestion fade away and he never brings it up again...until the next mass shooting. In fact, ever since he took office there has not been one - NOT ONE - new law that has restricted your access to guns in any way. Au contraire, there have been countless new gun laws that have EXPANDED the average citizens' access to guns and allowed guns in places where previously they had been banned.

Compared to practically every other country on the planet you are living in a gun lover's paradise, and yet you gun nuts still can't get enough! Now we have insane gun-nut legislators trying to pass a law that makes guns the equivalent of a clothing accessory and anybody can carry one anytime, anywhere for whatever reason...and we are supposed to not think twice about it, just accept it as the new normal?

I have lived 64 years in this country and have enjoyed the fact that everywhere I have gone has been a gun-free zone. Unlike you gun nuts who drool at the sight of a gun like a horny teenage boy drooling over internet porn, I find the sight of guns repugnant, as the tools of death and destruction that they are. And I am sure that there are plenty more people like me who do not relish the thought of seeing average citizens holstered like in a scene out of "Gunsmoke," ready to pull the trigger at the slightest provocation.

There are over 3 hundred million guns in the U.S. and that comes out to a gun in the hand of every American citizen - man, woman, and child. And still, you gun nuts want more guns in the hands of more people?! Arm the citizenry to the teeth! Pack heat to the mall, the movies, the restaurants, church, the bars, the super market, the parks, the kids' ball games. And that is the only solution to our escalating gun violence that you can come up with? In other words, just accept the fact that life in the U.S. has become a perpetual war zone and arm ourselves accordingly?

Frankly, you guys are indeed nuts. Not because you own a gun (I own one myself but keep it secure at my home where it belongs) but because this notion of the evils of "big government" has been drilled so thoroughly into your psyche by Faux News and the right-wing talk show pundits that you have come to fear your own shadow. You guys are truly a sorry, pathetic lot. You need more than guns to save you from the boogeyman that haunts you.

April 13, 2014 at 1:24 p.m.
Plato said...

Throw these clowns out of office. Give to the campaign of their opponents. Tell all your friends to vote against them. When you go to a public place or business, if you see someone walking around with a visible gun, tell the store manager you are leaving and not coming back until they establish a "no guns allowed policy".

April 13, 2014 at 3:15 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"if you see someone walking around with a visible gun, tell the store manager you are leaving and not coming back until they establish a 'no guns allowed policy'."

Good idea. The last thing I want to see is people walking around with holstered pistols on their sides or rifles slung over their shoulders. Any society that is truly civilized, peaceful, and peace-loving, will not tolerate the sight and presence of guns in public places. We used to be such a society and it was aptly called the Wild West.

April 13, 2014 at 3:27 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Oops...I meant to say: we used to be a gun-toting society and it was aptly called the Wild West. I hope my meaning was understood if my wording was not the best.

April 13, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.
TirnaNOG said...

Rick, I agree without you, Pam and Plato totally. However, we shouldn't insult the old West by comparing it to today's gun freaks. The old West was actually more tamed and civilized when compared with today's gun crackpots, although the land hadn't yet been totally settled which led to the term Wild Wild West. In the old West whenever newcomers arrived in any town they actually had to check their guns in and leave them at the locally sheriff or constable's office. Only upon leaving the town were they allowed to get their guns back.

April 13, 2014 at 6:11 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

You make a good point, TirnaNOG. You are right about it being perhaps not as gun-crazy as most of us think it was. But most Americans are fascinated with violence and have glorified the violence of the Old West in our movies and TV shows throughout the decades, such that what we see is oftentimes not an accurate depiction of the way it really was. At any rate, today's gun lovers seem obsessed with a return to a glorified gun-toting Old West where problems were solved with a gun in hand, without regard for the ramifications of their actions.

April 13, 2014 at 7:06 p.m.
aae1049 said...

So, you folks believe that legislation and regulatory oversight will ensure that 1) only registered guns are on streets, 2) registered carry permit holders are not criminals. LOL

Gun regulations only regulate law abiding citizens. Criminals are not going to register guns are apply for a carry permit. So, the laws you dummy dems want are only going to applicable to law abiding citizens.

Rickaroo, Liberahoo, I suggest you dispose of your weapon, and wait on a break in, or home invasion, you just dial 911 and wait on the police while the rest of us protect ourselves and our family. A reasonable response time is about 20 to 30 minutes. Good luck.

I guess you also believe that gov won the war on drugs with regulations. Failed miserably. The fact is gov cannot regulate gun distribution or permit carry any better than gov could drug use or distribution.

The majority of people are carring concealed weapons without permits. That is a fact. What is your plan when you are targeted for crime, to cry and say hurry to 911?

April 13, 2014 at 9:40 p.m.
GaussianInteger said...

April, TN's new legislation has nothing to do with gun ownership. It's amazing that you are trying to make a connection that doesn't exist. Ask any police officer, people that open carry are more likely to become a victim of a robbery or violent crime.

April 14, 2014 at 11:36 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Aae, where have I suggested that anybody dispose of their weapon? Like Gaussian says, you are trying to make a connection that doesn't exist. There is a huge difference between gun ownership and open carry. I don't know of anyone, even the most die-hard liberals, who are calling for disarmament of the citizenry.

As for your argument that gun legislation and regulation do nothing to deter gun crime or that it adversely affects only law abiding citizens...well, then, why don't we just do away with our laws against murder, rape, robbery, speeding, stopping at red lights, and all those other silly laws, too? Because many people still murder others (with or without guns), rape women and children, steal from others, drive at speeds much faster than the posted speed limits, etc. Obviously those laws aren't working, right? So let's just dispense with them since criminals are going to do whatever they want anyway.

Laws and regulations certainly do not stop all criminals but they do serve as a deterrent nonetheless. Gun lovers' arguments that putting more guns in the hands of more people is the answer to our obscenely, insanely high rate of gun violence is like throwing gasoline on a raging fire. Sure, there will be a few instances where a criminal might be bested and stopped, but just imagine all of the accidents and heated arguments ending in gunfire and death, that otherwise would have been settled without bullets flying.

You nuts who want to play cowboy or Rambo, do it in your own backyards or in your backwoods militia units. We don't want to see your sorry asses strutting around the mall or supermarket or streets of town with your guns strapped to your sides, advertising for all the world to see what paranoid idiots you are.

April 14, 2014 at 12:31 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

Rickaroo, Agree with you that the answer the gun nuts always toss back (because they have no logical answer) is that "laws won't do any good". Curiously many of the same people are eager to pass laws to keep "homos" from marrying or "sluts" from choosing whether to bear the children of incest and rape. What's it gonna be boys? Is it, just bend over and take it 'cause it's gawd's will - don't bother laws? Or is a sane society worth trying to make and ENFORCE laws? If everytime someone violates a gun law they do 5 years mandatory sentence,$100,000 fine and every gun that they own is melted into a lump of scrap iron, I think we'll get the point across.

April 15, 2014 at 10:03 p.m.
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