published Saturday, April 7th, 2012

Interlude in gun rights

The state Legislature's House members may continue to agitate for passage of the bill to allow gun owners to stow their guns in employers' parking lots. But State Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey has declared the controversial bill dead for the year.

Let's hope he's right. The National Rifle Association and the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council -- the background sponsors of this bill and others like it in state legislature across the country -- have intimidated, steered and jerked around lawmakers and Tennessee's citizenry far too much already. They should take a hit on this bill.

The irony of the bill's setback, to be sure, is that it springs from a rare disagreement between two of the most formidable pillars of the Republican-dominated Legislature's right-wing base: the NRA and the gun lobby, and big employers and corporations. If the state's biggest employers weren't so opposed to letting employees bring guns onto their property -- and if the state's Chamber of Commerce hadn't lobbied against the bill in behalf of employers and the hope of landing skittish future job creators -- the bill would have passed in a heartbeat, never mind the public interest in reducing the general presence of guns in a civil society.

Employers have good reason to fear giving employees a right to keep their guns in employers' parking lots. This nation has seen enough random shootings by angry employees raging through their place of work to frighten any sane employer. Small wonder prospective employers might refuse to locate in Tennessee if their private property interests weren't protected.

Advocates of the bill complain that employer bans on guns stored in their parking lots means they can't go armed on commutes to and from their jobs without lying about keeping their firearms in their car. Yet employees are not required to work for employers that ban guns. Neither are they denied their right to obtain a permit to carry a gun. So the premise that one person's rights can't impinge on another's rights still applies.

If employers in Tennessee can maintain their right to ban guns on their property -- why is this even a question? -- it could help quench the current crazy rush to allow guns in more and more public places, i.e., from bars and parks to churches and university campuses, to name a few more vulnerable areas of potential gun violence.

In any case, the gun-carry craze has already gone well beyond the rational boundaries that prevailed just five or ten years ago. Legislators have increasingly presumed the right to intrude guns into the public sphere, almost always despite huge public opposition. They had even widened the range of their guns-in-parking lots bill from applying just to those with gun-carry permits, to all gun owners with a hunting license -- a license that requires no background check, and that may be obtained through the bill for a few bucks.

Their excessive over-reaching killed any chance of compromise, but it allowed a reprieve from more gun privileges, at least for a year. Hopefully Tennessee's gun-happy legislators will use the pause to consider the risk the bill invites. They might remember why they still ban gun-carry rights in the halls and chambers of their own place of work in the Capitol.

3
Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
EaTn said...

The money always wins, but in this case it helps to protect all employees against a single hot-head employee.

April 7, 2012 at 7:30 a.m.
chet123 said...

THIS WHAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU HAVE LAWMAKERS WHO ARE INFIDELS.....THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO PREACH AGAINST VIOLENCE IN SCHOOL.....ZERO TOLERATE IN SCHOOL.....BUT AT THE SAME TIME THEY ARE PACKING GUNS TO KILL ANYONE WHO THREATEN OR CONFRONT THEM

WHAT COWARDS WE HAVE FOR LAWMAKER.....FEEDING ON ITS OWN..HA HA HA.....IT WILL HAVE TO RUN IT COURSE....THIS COUNTRY IS TOO FAR GONE TO TURN AROUND.......

WHAT ANGRY ME IS THE SAME PEOPLE THAT VOTED FOR THESE POLITICIAN 20YEARS FROM NOW WILL CLAIM THEY HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS BUNCH A OUT OF CONTROL RENEGADE BOUGHT POLITICIAN WHO CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS COMES FROM THE NRA

April 19, 2012 at 9:43 a.m.
Rtazmann said...

OUR LAWMAKERS ARE SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED,,,,,,WE ARE NOT IN THE OLD WEST,....WE ALSO NEED TO HAVE COMMON SENSE,,,,WHICH DOESN'T EXIST IN TN GOVERNMENT..IT IS TIME WE START TO MERGE INTO THE FUTURE AND NOT GO BACKWARDS,,,,,WE HAVE ENOUGH KILLINGS IN TN. WITH OUT A LAW LIKE THIS...THE PEOPLE THAT ARE GETTING KILLED ARE NOT HUNTERS BEING SHOT BY ACCIDENT,,,,MOST ARE COLD BLOODED MURDERS,,,,WHICH WE NEED NO MORE OF.

April 22, 2012 at 11:07 a.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.