Told that he was fired and handed his last paycheck, Andrew Engeldinger pulled a Glock 9mm and went on a rampage Sept. 27, killing five people and wounding two before committing suicide.
This sort of tragedy — along with the lawsuit liability that would come with it — is exactly what businesses are trying to prevent by opposing the NRA’s attempt to change Tennessee law.
That legislation would force businesses to let employees keep their handguns in their cars in company parking lots. The NRA claims it gives workers “a means of defending themselves and their loved ones should the need arise,” as the organization put it in a letter to legislative leaders. Businesses say they’re trying to keep workplaces safe from employees who might come unhinged like Engeldinger.
The bill’s failure in the last session outraged the gun lobby, which took it out on the House’s No. 3 Republican — Hendersonville Rep. Debra Maggart — and beat her in the party primary in August. The issue is certain to return as one of the big fights of next year’s session, with many observers expecting weak-kneed lawmakers to pass the law as quickly as possible this time so as not to become the next Maggart. On Inside Politics over the weekend, Gov. Bill Haslam said he’s still searching for a compromise.
It’s been interesting, the reaction. I think you’ve had some legislators who have said, ‘Oh wow, I don’t want that to happen to me,’ and I think you have had some who have said, ‘Well, that makes me mad that one of our members was kind of treated that way who quite frankly had been a pretty faithful supporter of the Second Amendment.’ And so I’ve heard reactions from ‘forget it, I’m not dealing with them period’ to ‘let’s work something out Day One.’ I think obviously it will be discussed. As Republicans, we believe in Second Amendment rights. We also believe in property rights. Any solution needs to take both of those into account and not just one of them.
An aside: It's not known whether the Minnesota shooter owned a handgun carry permit because that information is confidential by law and kept from the public in that state. Our legislature was about to pass a confidentiality law too a couple of years ago until it dawned on Republicans that they'd lose access to the names for campaign fundraising purposes.