My bet is there are quite a few Powerstroke owners who are hunters, gun owners and Tennessee handgun permit holders. If so, this message is for you.
Although I am an attorney in Nashville, I also serve in a volunteer capacity as the Executive Director of the Tennessee firearms Association
. One of the hottest topics going in the last 24 hours is the issue of the Governor of Tennessee vetoing a bill relative to permit holders and restaurants. There are similar bills that have passed and which are awaiting his signature or veto on allowing permit holders to transport in vehicles loaded longarms as well as possession of permit holders of their handguns in national, state and local parks.
If you are interested in these issues and in particular in what is happening with the governor's veto, keep reading.
Governor Vetoes HB0962 Restaurant Carry
On May 28, Governor Bredesen, a self-proclaimed 2nd Amendment supporter, vetoed a piece of 2nd Amendment legislation that has taken 15 years to pass in Tennessee and which passed both the House and the Senate with overwhelming majorities.
Governor Bredesen disagreed with the success of this law in 30+ other states. He did so with the backing primarily of appointed - not elected - law enforcement such as relying on old western movies as authority for the proposition that "guns and alcohol don't mix
" which seems to be the one if if not the only justifications given by Governor Bredesen
for his act of vetoing a bill that the legislature spent a huge amount of time and legislative resources to pass.
Now, the question to turns to veto override. Many news reports across TN are reporting comments from local and regional legislators that this matter will be taken up on veto overrides in the next week. The important thing now is to not let them develop excuses for this veto override effort to be put off - there is time to get this on both the House and Senate calendars this week and override this ill conceived veto.
What can you do?
More accurately, what must you do?
1) Call, go see and email your House member and demand an immediate veto override on HB0962 THIS WEEK. Even if they voted against the bill to start with, ask them to support the override because the bill was clearly passed by greater than 2/3 of each House and it was therefore an abuse of discretion for Bredesen to veto the bill. We do not have to limit this request to the merits of the bill - now its also the justness of his veto in the face of an overwhelmingly supported bill.
House Member Lookup
2) Call, go see and email your Senate Member. Same issue as above.
Senate Member Lookup
3) In the video's of the Governor's veto, we see lots of law enforcement and district attorneys. The mayors - their bosses. If these individuals are in your area, contact them and voice your opposition as a constituent. Tell them that 2nd Amendment is now a local election issue and this one is a strike against them. You may hear them say "but I did not support that" - if they say this, demand that they write a letter to the House, Senate and Governor stating that they support the bill, as well as the PARKS BILL and insist that they copy the letter to you. If they don't do it - who cares what they say because it has no impact unless its written and if they are unwilling to put it in writing them they are more likely telling legislators and the governor something else.
4) Tennessee's Sheriffs. Unlike appointed chiefs such a Ronal Serpas in Nashville, Tennessee's sheriffs are elected. Outside of major population cities/counties, most of them are 2nd Amendment conservatives and do support gun owners. In fact, I am told by many TFA members that they have received in the last year letters from the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association
urging gun owners to join the Sheriffs' Association because Tennessee Sheriffs support Tennessee's gun owners. Ok, let's see. I noted in most of the news reports that no mention was made of a single sheriff appearing to support the governor's veto. Contact your sheriff
and find out if they do or do not. Ask for it in writing. Ask for them to write to the governor, their House member and their Senator and demand that this veto be overriden. Ask them to agree with and support the statements made by Senator Doug
on the Senate floor in support of this bill.
One of the things that is noteworthy is that Senator Jackson
has this year repeatedly stated, as he did speaking on May 14 on the Senate floor
a philosophy that the real legislative question on firearms issues is not whether there is a need to remove restrictions on firearms owners and handgun permit holders (contrary to the opinion of Bredesen and certainly contrary to the babble of Serpas) but whether the state has a compelling need to put or keep those restrictions in place. That perspective is consistent with the approach by the Tennessee Supreme Court on this issue in 1871 when it commented on the amendment of Article 1, Section 26 to the Tennessee Constitution a year prior in the case of Andrews v. State
. It is a concept, a doctrine and a philosophy that more of our legislators, many of our chiefs of police and most certainly governor Bredesen must learn and apply.
The most important step is now to keep the push on for the veto override. Sooner is better. Indeed, I talked with Rep. Ben West yesterday who has missed most of the session due to a heart attack about this issue and am encouraging him to make this his returning vote. Its that important not just one vote but for all of the upcoming 2nd Amendment bills. Law enforcement, district attorneys, mayors, local government and Phil Bredesen need the message that Tennessee's gun owners are not apathetic and we will not simply walk away.
If you would like to participate in more of this topic outside of this forum, feel free to participate in the Tennessee Firearms Association's website and forum at Tennessee Firearms Assoc. Inc.'s forum page