Aiming to separate the wheat from the chaff, with primary elections looming, the National Rifle Association is asking state legislative candidates whether they will side with the Republican leadership or the NRA on guns-in-lots legislation, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The gun-lobby giant and its manic in-state cousin, the Tennessee Firearms Association, have been noticeably chapped ever since GOP leaders halted legislation earlier this year which would have required that employees be allowed to store firearms in their cars on company lots. Having successfully shepherded similar laws through a number of state legislatures around the country, the NRA plans to try again next year — and now they want to know who's with them.
The TFP's Andy Sher has the details:
The survey asks candidates if they would support the bill and blames Republican leaders for blocking full House and Senate votes this year.
"As a legislator, would you follow the demands of party leadership even if they run contrary to the NRA's legislative agenda?" the survey asks.
In an interview, NRA spokesman Andrew Arulandandam called the survey question "pretty straightforward and self-explanatory."
"At the NRA we're not shy. We don't mince words," he said.
The Safe Commute Act "preserves the right for hardworking men and women to defend themselves at daily commutes," Arulandandam said.
"Not everybody works the first shift. There are people who work odd hours, late hours," he said.
The NRA survey is a challenge to Republican legislative leaders and Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, who said the NRA's legislation went too far.
House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, said the survey question "sounds like they were asking, 'Will you do what we tell you to do instead of sticking by leadership?'"
Hey, that's what it sounds like to us, too. At the end of the session, Democrats forced the Republican leadership's hand by pushing for a vote on guns-in-lots. We're guessing this is what they had in mind.