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The Senate Judiciary Committee pledged allegiance to the NRA this morning, adopting the bill to close state records so we can't find out when our fine, law-abiding licensed gunmen commit crimes. But a legislator finally brought up the fact that handgun permit holders have killed at least three people
this year alone. That's progress. To Pith
's knowledge, it was the first time these murders have been mentioned during all the gun debates this session.
"They may be exceptions to the rule," Sen. Beverly Marrero said, "but if we don't have any record of who has permits, then we won't know about the abuses."
Marrero also expressed puzzlement over why the NRA is demanding that its puppets in the legislature seal the records. "The people I know who have permits are right proud of it," she said. "If I had a permit, I'd put up a sign in my front yard that says 'Don't mess with this woman. She's got a gun in her house.' "
"I'd love to know all the criminals who have guns too," committee chair Mae Beavers shot back.
Sen. Jim Kyle wondered who would make sure the Safety Department isn't handing out permits to violent felons or lunatics. Sen. Mark Norris, the bill's sponsor, replied, "It's incumbent on the legislature to make sure the responsible agencies are doing their jobs." (Insert laugh track here.) The committee did pass an amendment telling the state Comptroller to do occasional reviews. Only Marrero and Kyle, the two Memphis Democrats, voted against the bill.