House Republican Caucus Chairman Debra Maggart, under attack by the National Rifle Association, has sent out a statement defending her actions on the so-called “guns in parking lots” bill. Her campaign website has a video of her reading the statement HERE.
Here’s the text:
Over the past few months, a national second amendment rights group, an organization of which I am a lifetime member, has begun a negative campaign against me in the name of the Second Amendment and my opponent.
This attack against me is based on false information in an effort to bully your elected officials and trample your other Constitutional rights.
During this past General Assembly, a bill came before us related to individuals being able to store their gun in their car. I have a 100% voting record on the Second Amendment and support this idea. There were several problems with this bill and we reached out to this group to try to work the kinks out.
My main concern was that this bill as introduced would have mandated what individuals, not just businesses, must do or allow with their property. I hear complaints every day about Federal Government mandates, yet one was almost forced on you by the state if this group would have gotten their way.
Since this group was not willing to work with us, we suggested that we study the legislation over the summer to see how we could make this a better bill for all Tennesseans. Most Members of the General Assembly would like a bill that respects property rights as well as second amendment rights, as both of these are equally important. Let me be clear. I did not vote against this bill, contrary to what you have been told. You can see for yourself by going to www.capitol.tn.gov and looking at the vote for this piece of legislation.
As a member of House Leadership, blame has been placed at my feet for an attempt at thoughtful governing. We are sent to Nashville to represent you. It is my aim to protect all of your rights, not just the one that this second amendment rights group is promoting.
I hope you will contact me if you have specific questions about this matter that I can resolve. Now that you know the truth, I would appreciate your vote.
UPDATE Note: The Tennessee Firearms Association, naturally, has fired back. below.
Email sent by Tennessee Firearms Association:
In her newest (delusional) video, incumbent Debra Maggart claims that her vote to kill the Safe Commute act (HB3560 and HB3559) was note a vote against a 2nd Amendment issue. She takes a shot or two at the NRA as well.
Debra is either intentionally misrepresenting the EFFECT of sending a bill to “summer study” at the end of a 2 year legislative cycle or she is simply lying in hopes that the voters are too stupid to know the truth. Those with experience around the legislature know that “summer study” is a misleading way of killing many bills that the leadership does not want to see debated on the floor. It is a means of defeating a bill without a paper trail that clearly says so. Its not a “no” vote – it is a vote that simply tells the sponsor – “When pigs fly ….” or “When Hell freezes over….” or perhaps in this case “When Debra tells the truth ….” because all three are about the same effect.
If it was in fact set to be heard in “summer study”in 2012 – when was that meeting held or when is it scheduled to be held? At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that the “summer study” vote resulted in any actual summer study or findings. It was not supposed to because legislators and lobbyists know that such things seldom occur.
The fact is that Debra Maggart is lying. She told TFA in 2011 that these bills would not be heard for a floor vote because of her concerns that passing 2nd Amendment legislation would be bad for Republicans in an election year. That means, she places partisan power above the constitution and the lives of hard working Tennesseans.
The fact is that Debra Maggart is lying because she was also concerned that allowing a floor vote would mean that the bill would have passed on the floor and that would have caused her problems with the Big Business interests, like Federal Express, who have donated huge sums of money to the Republican leaders to “purchase” their influence.
The fact is that if Debra Maggart thought there was any 2nd Amendment context – much less self-defense rights – to this legislation, she could have brought it to the floor for a vote. She could have offered amendments. It could have been debated on the floor. The fact is that none of this was done and the effect of that was that most Tennesseans were denied the right to have their voices heard on this legislation by denying their elected representatives and senators the opportunity to vote on this legislation (which had 30 House sponsors) on the floor. The fact is that Debra Maggart – like King George – has denied many citizens in Tennessee the constitutional right to a representative form of government and she has done so for partisan power and campaign money.
Pay close attention when around the 30 second spot, Debra Maggart claims she support the intent of the bill but then at approximately the 50 second spot she claims that the bill is bad because it is a mandate on property owners. What Debra Maggart simplistic mind misses is that this bill is not an either/or on rights of citizens but a balancing of self-defense rights (which have a priority) and property rights (of the car’s owner and the land owner).
The fact is that Debra Maggart has trouble not only with the truth but trouble apparently even with reading comprehension. In a news report in May, Maggart made the following blatantly false statement concerning the effect of the Safe Commute law. This is the link to the news report from May 31, 2012. http://www.hendersonvillestandard.com/component/content/article/37-frontpage-lead-stories/2201-maggart-presents-recap-of-session-defends-gun-bill-action
“Property rights and gun rights are very important to the Republican party,” she said. “What happened is that some of the gun advocacy groups felt very strongly that we needed to pass a bill that was a very broad bill. The way that gun reads, you could carry a gun right now to the nursery of this hospital and there’s nothing (officials) can do about it to stop you…The last line of the bill says every citizen can carry a gun wherever they want in this state. I don’t know if you want felons to do that, probably not.
Maggart’s claims then that the Safe Commute law would allow carrying guns “to the nursery of [a] hospital” or that it would allow citizens to carry guns “wherever they want in this state” or that it would allow felons to carry guns are all false. The bill was short and simply written. If Maggart was lying about what the bill meant, then she is a bold liar. If Maggart really thought that this is what the bill meant then Tennessean’s cannot afford to have someone so functionally illiterate writing or voting on legislation.
If Debra Maggart cannot be honest with citizens about what the effect of a “summer study” vote means or what the effect of a bill is, she cannot be trusted with being returned to the legislature. We have enough liars in government, we need to be removing them – not rewarding them.