Memphis sheriff, now running for mayor, wants gun permitting

Memphis sheriff, now running for mayor, wants gun permitting
AP Photo/Marina Riker, File

In my experience, most people in law enforcement are somewhat pro-gun. They oppose things like gun permitting laws, correctly noting that criminals get guns easily enough and requiring a permit to purchase a firearm won’t do much of anything.


But there are certain people in law enforcement who are rather vocal in supporting gun control; so much so that it makes the entire profession look anti-gun.

That’s especially true among sheriffs in large, urban counties.

Like, say, the sheriff of Shelby County, which is where you’ll find Memphis, Tennessee. There, the sheriff–also a leading contender for mayor of Memphis–seems to think gun permits are swell.

Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, a top candidate for Memphis mayor, voiced his support for stronger gun laws Thursday as state legislators continue their special session on public safety.

“I don’t care how many guns you want to spend your money and buy. If you want to make Smith & Wesson rich or richer, then have at it, but all I’ve ever said when it comes to guns is I want you to have education and I want to see background checks,” Bonner told a group at the Frayser Exchange.

First, if you’re going to make Smith & Wesson richer, that means you’re either buying directly from them or from a gun store that stocks their firearms.

That means you’re undergoing a background check.

If Bonner is unfamiliar with that, what the hell has he been doing as sheriff? I mean, this is a basic law around firearms.


But it’s the education aspect that bothers me.

It’s not that people should get educated on how to handle firearms. I’m a proponent of that as well. It’s where he’s going with that.

The state could issue permits for free, Bonner said, something that would cut down on things like people injuring themselves while cleaning their weapons.

Education on gun law and usage is essential, Bonner said, with many people not understanding when you can or cannot shoot someone.

Educating people in the use of force laws is all fine and good. The problem, however, is this idea that we should somehow require a gun permit, complete with education, just to exercise our right to keep and bear arms.

Making the permits free may make it easier for poor people to get them, but what about the mandatory education Bonner is talking about? Will that be free as well?

Let’s understand something here, Memphis is a rough city. It’s got a violent crime problem.

However, none of that violent crime issue is because the state doesn’t require gun permits to purchase a firearm. The gangs are shooting one another because they don’t understand use of force laws. There’s little that could be solved with education in these cases. At least, not at this point.


And let’s also remember that accidental shootings are pretty rare, all things considered. Bonner is acting like gun permits will somehow have a huge impact via mandated safety training, but accidental shootings aren’t exactly the reason the gun fatality rate in Memphis is what it is.

But pretending that gun owners are just too ignorant to be trusted is a common tactic among anti-gunners, which Bonner clearly is to some degree.

Right now, he doesn’t care if you buy a gun, but what happens if he gets into a position where he can do something about that?

Anyone who favors gun permits is someone who favors delaying your right to own a gun. A right delayed is a right denied, which is all the reason I need to oppose gun permits.

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