Rules for thee and not for me.
That’s not a great way to run, well, anything. While some might just shrug over special privileges for those in charge, the truth is that elected officials shouldn’t get anything besides a paycheck for their time.
Especially when it comes to things like gun rights.
Yet in Athens, Tennessee, the city commission has decided that some animals are more equal than others and has made sure they can carry guns to commission meetings but no one else can.
A Tennessee city council approved a motion this week allowing its members to begin carrying concealed firearms during council meetings.
The move in Athens, Tennessee, came after nearly 20 minutes of discussion and is likely to spark ongoing debate. Tennessee has been at the center of high-profile debates over firearms in the wake of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville in March and a special legislative session in August aimed at public safety.
Athens, a city of 14,000 residents about 60 miles south of Knoxville, is the county seat of McMinn County.
Vice Mayor Larry Eaton pushed the measure to allow members to carry guns over concerns for his personal safety. The motion would only allow for council members to carry concealed weapons who have a permit and would not include city residents attending meetings.
And that’s where I have a huge problem.
Look, I don’t mind city commissioners carrying guns to commission meetings. They anger people with the laws they pass and that means they might need to defend themselves, either at the meetings or outside of them.
Where I have an issue is that they seem to believe they’re the only ones who deserve the right to keep and bear arms while taking part in local governance.
Other people face threats to their lives, either premeditated threats based on personal animosity for some reason or the threats that come from living in a nation where some think crime pays.
Why are their lives less worthy of protection than city commissioners? Why should there be two sets of rules for exercising the right to keep and bear arms?
Commissioners carrying guns to meetings is fine, but everyone else should be free to carry their guns as well.
Freedom is only freedom if it applies to everyone. The Second Amendment doesn’t say “shall not be infringed for elected officials” or anything of the sort. It’s about the people of the United States of America, be they elected, appointed to public office, or just private citizens trying to go about their lives.
What’s happened in Athens, TN is a prime example of public officials thinking they’re better than the public they’re supposed to serve.
My hope is that the people of Athens make their voices heard and force local officials to change the rules so they apply to everyone equally. If the public can’t carry firearms, no one should be.
Or, better yet, let all responsible gun owners carry their firearms because that’s what freedom actually looks like.