"Eliminating the permit process would allow anyone with a gun free reign in our communities and neighborhoods. I am surprised that Bill Haslam, who fought alongside Mayor Bloomberg to remove guns from the streets, is now favoring the carry of handguns with reckless abandon, and I think he needs to explain the reasoning behind his decision to reverse his stance on the issue."
"Does Bill Haslam oppose required handgun training and criminal background checks? Does he support convicted felons carrying concealed weapons? Is he OK allowing someone who's under a restraining order to carry a firearm in public? I don't think the people of Tennessee or our law enforcement officers want gang members, criminals and other unstable individuals carrying concealed weapons. Bill Haslam is willing to put the safety of Tennessee families at risk for political gain, this is irresponsible and speaks volumes about his character."
Those are good points that McWherter makes. But since Haslam is about to win this election in a huge landslide no matter what happens now, we can only hope he didn't really mean what he said at the firearms association meeting this week. It would be understandable if he didn't. He's so used to pandering to people all over the state that he probably doesn't even know he's doing it anymore. And to his credit, Haslam did try in vain to reason with this group of crackpots, some of whom expressed the view that they have a natural right to go armed. It's like the right to breathe or the right to produce testosterone.
"Earlier you said we had a constitutional right to keep and bear arms," one of them told Haslam. "My question is, is it a constitutional right or is it a natural right that the Constitution recognizes? If it’s a natural right, then where does government get its authority to even regulate peaceful individuals and require permission slips or permits or whatever you want to call it? Where’s that authority come from?"
"I’m not sure anybody here wants to say we’re going to give a blanket right to carry in courtrooms, airplanes, etc.," Haslam replied. "I don’t think that people are going to say that they’re for that."
At which point, the room erupted into protests, shouting down Haslam. "Maybe some would," Haslam interjected, sheepishly. "Some would, OK, some would."
It's amazing. These nutjobs are completely unhinged, yet they are setting state policy on who can and can't carry deadly weapons.