Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Republican Tennessee Governor Bill Lee Has Lost His Mind

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, April 10, 2021

A gun in every pocket.

Not a chicken in every pot.

No pot there, either.

Not even medical.

The state wants people to kill each other.

But not in the womb.

That’d be wrong.

Shooting people to kill them, is A-OK.

Shooting pregnant women is not.

Might harm the unborn, you know.

Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee has signed NRA-written legislation that allows any adult aged 21, or older, to carry a handgun either openly, or concealed without any special training, education, or permit. Active duty Military Service Members aged 18 to 21 are excepted.

Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Agencies throughout the state, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, have told the Governor that they thought his idea was poor policy, but he ignored them, and signed into law a bill that removes restrictions on carrying firearms, either concealed, or openly.

Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee (RIGHT) signs HB786 as the bill’s sponsor, Republican Representative William Lamberth of Portland, District 44, observes.

Despite law enforcement’s opposition to his legislation that would end gun permits in Tennessee, Governor Bill Lee told a gathering from the National Rifle Association that his legislation would “make Tennessee safer.” However, he failed to mention how it would.

A spokesman for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation told a Senate committee, “The bureau has been consistent [in opposition] on this from a public safety standpoint.” The TBI and Tennessee Sheriff’s Association oppose eliminating requirements for concealed carry gun permits.

Governor Lee’s Press Secretary Casey Black said, “The ‘Constitutional Carry’ legislation is a key priority in the governor’s public safety package, which is focused on protecting law-abiding Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights, while also significantly increasing penalties for criminals who steal firearms.”

Advocates point to permitless carry which is often misnomered as “Vermont carry” because Vermont is the only state in the union where for 200 years their citizens have no restrictions on carrying concealed firearms. Advocates also point to CDC data that shows the Green Mountain State has had the 3rd lowest gun violence deaths in the nation as evidence to support their case – but fail to mention that “correlation is not causation.” That is, Vermont’s absence of law regulating concealed carry is not the cause of their reduced rate of gun violence. And they also fail to point out that the Vermont State Legislature is also the only state in the union that made Adult Recreational Use of cannabis legal… without punting the matter to voters.

However, for the past 5 years, Tennessee has been in the Top 12 states for gun violence, and is now the 19th state that has no limits on carrying handguns, either concealed, or openly. Federal law forbids former felons and those convicted of domestic violence from possessing, or owning, firearms.

The NRA-written legislation signed into law by Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee only modestly increases penalties for firearm theft, but it doesn’t bring back the dead.

In March Governor Lee claimed to be interested in what The People said on the matter when he stated that “Feedback from citizens and stakeholders all across the state is important and it’s a part of what shapes the policy we bring going forward.” But he refused to listen to, or address the concerns of either law enforcement, or The People he purports to serve, and instead listened to The Father of Lies gun industry.

The Republicans who sponsored the bill were House Majority Leader William Lamberth of Portland, House Disrict 44, and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson of Franklin, Senate District 23.

The GOPers “threw the dog a bone” by amended the bill to prohibit those convicted of stalking, or of two instances of driving under the influence from carrying a firearm, in addition to those who have been committed by the court to a mental institution – but those who are mentally unstable are prohibited by Federal law from possessing, or owning, firearms, anyway.

In December 2019 a Vanderbilt University poll found that Tennesseans overwhelmingly opposed making it easier to purchase guns.

And a 2019 poll commissioned by gun safety advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, found that 75% of Tennesseans opposed or strongly opposed removing permit requirements to carry a gun, while even more said they thought individuals should be required to complete a course and obtain a permit to carry a loaded gun in public.

Over 500 Evangelical Christian leaders in the state opposed Governor Lee on the measure, which had first been introduced during the previous administration of Republican Governor Bill Haslam, who also opposed the bill.

Kevin Riggs, Senior Pastor of Franklin Community Church, along with two other church leaders condemned the bill in a call organized by the Southern Christian Coalition, and said “Last night while the shooting and the investigation of the events in Colorado were taking place where 10 people lost their lives, our governor was celebrating with the NRA the passage through the House of this particular law. Our state is now facing a test of our willingness to prevent disasters of our own making. “As a pastor, a major role of the church is to be a conscience of the community and the conscience has to step up sometimes and say ‘This is wrong. Don’t do it.’ So, that’s what we’re saying today that this is wrong. Don’t do it.” 

Eugene Sebree, Associate Pastor of Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, said he has carried a gun under the state’s permitting system for more than 20 years and has attended multiple courses on firearms “So I understand the desire to protect your families. But more importantly, we must do so in a way that is responsible and protects our community and our city and state at large. Any time we decrease gun laws, we are inviting violence and crime to increase in our communities, and that is not what we need to do here in Tennessee. Where are your values and morals now? Where is your commitment to faith, to the people of Tennessee? We need you to be committed to us, not to one of the most dangerous lobbying groups in the country.”

Leading law enforcement officials and prosecutors around the state have opposed the legislation, including Deputy Chief Samuel Hines of the Memphis Police Department and retired Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe of the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association, including Jimmy Musice from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who all spoke against the bill.

This past Monday, April 5, 2021, Governor Lee held a press briefing for the first time in well over 2 weeks, but only answered 4 questions, and none about the no–permit-required concealed handgun carry bill he signed into law.

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