Pam's Points: Guns galore, donations as bribery and event halls

Pam's Points: Guns galore, donations as bribery and event halls

July 20th, 2013 in Opinion Times

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Handgun madness

Tennessee handgun carry permit applications have doubled this year.

Seriously?

What is this, the Wild West?

Tennessee officials on Thursday said state handgun-carry permit applications grew from 40,503 in the first six months of 2012 to 86,334 handgun permit applications in the same period this year.

How disgusting.

Tragically, the numbers are up in many other states, as well, according to a story earlier this month in the Wall Street Journal. The reason cited was concern that renewed gun-control efforts soon could constrain access to weapons, along with heightened interest in self-defense in the wake of mass killings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.

Frankly, lots of people should be constrained from obtaining guns.

The Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit group that advocates for gun control, said that since 2007, concealed-carry permit holders have fatally shot about 500 people, that 128 of them have been convicted of manslaughter or homicide, and 36 have committed murder-suicides.

Elections and corporate bribery

Kudos to former President Jimmy Carter of Georgia who said Wednesday that unchecked political contributions are "legal bribery of candidates" as he denounced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made possible unlimited election spending by outside groups, including corporations and labor unions.

Carter, a Democrat, said the court made a "very stupid" decision by removing limits on independent campaign spending by businesses and labor unions which the court found was a constitutionally protected form of political speech. Carter said he and his Republican opponents used public financing to run their general election campaigns in 1976 and 1980.

Those days likely are over.

The public can't compete with big business groups.

And unfortunately, there likely won't be too many senators or representatives looking to propose any new laws or amendments to stem campaign contributions. Even fewer would vote to pass such a proposal.

Event halls and shootings

Chattanooga's mayor and council are looking for ways to stop the shootings in Chattanooga by tightening -- or creating -- regulations for event halls.

Two such halls -- buildings rented out for parties -- have been settings where three people have been killed since April.

Emotion Event Hall on Dodds Avenue, better known to patrons as Da Building, and a hall with no sign at 2510 E. Main St., are venues that have prompted more than a hundred calls to police since 2010.

With the "event" arrangement, neither the owner nor the renting party group is having to seek drink licenses or inspections.

Taking action on event halls would be good, but it certainly won't be enough. It is a start, though. And hopefully it won't take as long as talking about chickens.