So why then are they against making the punishment tougher for drinking while armed in a bar?
Yesterday in the House Finance Committee, Democratic leader Gary Odom tried to up the penalty from one to five years’ suspension of the gun permit on first offense. On second offense, he’d make it a felony and permanent revocation of the gun permit. House Republican caucus chairman Glen Casada quickly moved to table that amendment. In the process, Casada explained how he thinks the police aren’t doing their jobs, so we need gun nuts—presumably even drunken ones—to keep the peace.
"This amendment basically is an attempt I think to kill the bill. But let’s look at some facts first. First of all, we know that Tennessee is one of the most violent states in the union. What we’re doing now of trying to protect our citizens is not working. So let’s let the good guys, those that go through the permitting process and are citizens who obey the law, let’s let them see if we can’t stop some of this violence that’s going on in our bars and in our restaurants. With that said, Mr. Chairman, I move this to the table."
The committee did table Odom’s amendment as well as one by committee chairman Craig Fitzhugh to open the entire state to guns. That’s right, Fitzhugh’s amendment would have let citizen gunmen go into honky tonks, schools, playgrounds, nursing homes, day care centers where there are little babies, maybe even the Capitol—anywhere, in fact, except where there are signs prohibiting weapons. Everybody would have to get real busy making signs and slapping them up everywhere.
Democrats thought it was a great idea—a foolproof way to induce public revulsion and inconvenience and turn voters against Republicans. Fitzhugh insisted he was sincere in his proposal, and it puzzled some committee members. But they eventually saw it as yet another poison pill—an attempt to kill the bill—and voted it down.
“I think we’d get into a lot of problems with all the signs,” said the bill’s dim-bulb sponsor, Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville.
Because the legislature is so afraid of the NRA, this is what the few remaining reasonable state legislators are left to do on this issue—sling out amendments whose only purpose is to show up the gun freaks as hypocrites.