Tennessee is a very pro-gun state. It doesn’t get the reputation it generally deserves for that, but it most certainly has a history of passing legislation in keeping with the Second Amendment.
However, one can never just assume that lawmakers that seem to be pro-gun are actually that pro-gun. We all (read: me) tend to forget that from time to time.
Luckily, Tennessee Republicans provided me with a reminder.
The GOP lawmakers behind bills to expand access to guns in Tennessee heard from legislative counsel and representatives of the Department of Safety that their bills could have unintended consequences if passed.
“I’m not quite sure this is fixing a problem that exists,” said Department of Safety Director of Legislation Elizabeth Stroecker.
Stroecker was testifying about a bill that was supposed to allow adults to carry a weapon in places like school property and parks as long as the adult didn’t plan to commit a crime.
However, it was voted down by Senate Republicans after being warned that it could have a much broader impact.
“All weapons other than firearms would be allowed in courtrooms,” said TBI Policy Director Patrick Powell. “So, you could take a crossbow into a courtroom as long as you didn’t have a premeditated intent, which arguably you may not until you see what the judge rules.”
Honestly, that’s an idiotic argument.
Then again, this whole “didn’t plan to commit a crime” thing was pretty stupid too. After all, no one has ever heard someone say, “I was going to take a gun to that high school basketball game and shoot that guy, but carrying a gun there would be illegal, so I didn’t kill him after all.”
But so is a prohibition about carrying guns in courthouses or school property.
While I get that unintended consequences is a thing–I talk about the Law of Unintended Consequences all the time–these measures aren’t so different than existing laws elsewhere. We’ve got examples of implementing them and how there aren’t these unintended consequences in the first place.
Let’s remember that those with nefarious intent will continue to carry in places they’re prohibited from carrying in. Laws do not dissuade the lawless.
What they do, however, is prohibit those who would stand up to these predators from having the means to do so.
Yes, even in schools.
Frankly, what’s interesting to me is that literally every argument provided by Republican lawmakers against these bills sounds identical to what many Democrats pull in other places. A comment about open carry caused one such Republican to say, “Can you just give me one reason why that might be necessary on let’s say Poplar Ave. in Memphis, Tennessee?”
That’s not how our rights work. There is no requirement for us to illustrate why we should be permitted to speak freely at a given time or place. There’s no requirement to give a reason why we wish to worship a certain way. So why should anyone have to explain why they’d want to open carry at a given location?
That’s the kind of argument we hear from anti-gunners, only this is coming from Republicans in Tennessee.
If you’re in the Volunteer State, contact your legislators and make damn sure they know how you feel about this nonsense.