Columnists Frank Cagle and Robert Houk both weigh in on the guns-in-parks bill and the Senate amendment to add guns at the state Capitol this week.
Republican House members can argue that the amendment was “Democratic mischief” or a “flawed amendment not clearly thought out.” But I’m with the senators on this. They have no business overruling local governments that want to ban guns from parks. But if they are going to do it, then they are hypocrites if they don’t allow them at their place of business. Gov. Bill Haslam needs to veto the bill whether the Capitol amendment stays or not. He will likely be overridden. But so what? Make a statement. What does Haslam have to lose? He wasn’t even invited to speak at the NRA convention, though they found a spot on the program for Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana.
Regardless of how it turns out, one hopes it will cause legislators to think twice about interfering with local government regulations. There hasn’t been a lot of consideration of the effect of gun legislation on the average citizen.
Even if they kill guns in the Capitol, perhaps the specter of angry constituents packing heat will bringing it home to them that their actions have consequences.
Excerpt from Houk’s column:
Despite calls from Johnson City leaders for him to do otherwise, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, voted to usurp a local government’s control of its parks.
Afterward, Crowe did his now familiar “Rusty two-step” to dance around his vote.
“It was very hard to discern from the letters and calls from constituents which side weighed more heavily than the other,” (said Crowe).
…During the Senate’s debate on “guns and parks,” a freshman Democrat thought he was being clever by attaching an amendment to the bill allowing Tennesseans with a carry permit to tote their weapons on Capitol Hill.
That might have been a “poison pill” in any other state’s legislature, but not here in Tennessee.
Our senators happily approved the amendment.
The amendment would also allow state lawmakers to proudly carry their shooting iron as well.
Can’t you just see it now? Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey with his pearl handle revolver. Or state Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Jonesborough, cradling his favorite sniper rifle in one arm as he roams the hallways of the Legislative Plaza.
It’s good to be a Tennessean.