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It looks like the legislature's Republican majority has created a fine little mess for itself by enacting all those gun laws this session. As Pith
's own Betsy Phillips
learned on a trip to the wild hinterlands of West Tennessee, even many hillbillies think the laws are stupid. Lawmakers made the mistake of supposing the loudmouths in the gun lobby speak for the majority of voters.
"They did a very good lobbying job," the governor said in Memphis yesterday. "They put a lot of political pressure on an awful lot of people I think."
All across Tennessee, bar and restaurant owners are slapping up signs to ban guns. (Somebody should tell the barkeeps that it's not a guns-in-bars law. Heh!) Starting this summer, visitors to Beale Street
will have to go through some kind of screening process to make sure they're unarmed. The Tennessee Hospitality Association says
more than 80 percent of its members are banning guns.
"We still haven't been able to figure out the problem that existed that caused the need for this legislation," the association's Walt Baker says.
always thought the guns-in-parks law was the one that would really backfire on Republicans. It's one thing to endanger the lives of drunks and bar flies. It's another when families don't feel safe anymore at their city park because a few assclowns insist on striding around with guns on their hips. Local governments are rushing to "opt out"
of that law, and everyone's wondering
what exactly lawmakers were thinking when they passed it.
In Murfreesboro, the TSSAA is threatening
to hold Spring Fling somewhere else unless the council bans guns in parks. The weeklong high school spring sports state tournaments bring more than $3 million in tourist dollars into the city. Also in Murfreesboro, they're worried about whether guns in parks might violate Little League baseball's safety policy. Says one former ump:
If Optimist has to cut its Little League affiliation because of this stupid law, every Murfreesboro council member and legislator in Tennessee should be required to line up and get whacked in the head by a 12-year-old with a Little League approved bat. Those are the only weapons that should be allowed in a ball park.