I can’t help but wonder what some of the more moderate republicans and the democrats in this state think about our legislators’ lack of compassion. Yes, we know gun legislation was on the table about being able to keep weapons in vehicles but Frank Niceley today takes the cake pushing the agenda further.
As has been seen following other mass shootings, there’s a strong segment of the gun rights lobby that says the answer to events like the one in Newtown is more guns in more places. But they’ve said the recent massacre shows how important it is to put guns into elementary schools, where even gun-friendly states like Tennessee don’t currently allow them.
State Sen. Frank Niceley (R) told TPM on Tuesday he believes it’s time for that to change. He plans to introduce legislation in the next session, which begins Jan. 8, that will require all schools to have an armed staff member of some kind. The current language of the bill — which is in its early form — would allow for either a so-called “resource officer” (essentially an armed police officer, the kind which most Tennessee high schools have already) or an armed member of the faculty or staff in every school in the state. The choice would allow schools that can’t afford a resource officer to fulfill the requirement without having to pay for anything beyond the cost of the training and, presumably, the weapon. But Niceley said schools should use the wiggle room to train and keep on hand armed staff not in uniform.
To add more fuel on an already sensitive issue, Sen. Lamar Alexander blamed video games for Friday shooting. Nope, it’s the truth.
U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. — whose 2008 re-election campaign collected $9,900 from the NRA — partially blamed “violent video games and movies” rather than guns for Friday’s massacre of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school.
“We should ask the leaders of the entertainment industry whether they would want their children — or those who might harm their children — to watch the increasingly violent video games and movies that they pour into our culture,” Alexander said Monday. “This is not the only cause of violence in our society, but it is one important cause.”
Basically the kind senator wants you to get off his lawn.
But the most telling post I’ve seen today was penned by Debra Maggart and appeared in the New York Times and The Huffington Post. There is always a story behind a story, I’ve said that for years, and she is telling it.
Maggart, a lifetime member of the NRA and a politician who “always had an A+ rating” from the gun lobby, declined to support a bill earlier this year that would permit Tennesseans to keep guns inside locked cars and soon became a target of the NRA. As Maggart describes it, “When they didn’t get what they wanted, they turned on someone anyone would have considered a friend.”
“They made me an example,” she said of the NRA, which according to Maggart, spent $155,000 to defeat her, with ads that linked her to President Obama on gun control. “If you’re a state legislative member, you definitely need to be concerned about this, because I know that they did this in Georgia, and they’ve done this in Alabama, where they came after state house and state senate members, and that kind of money can really make an impact in a state legislative race.”
Maggart said of the bill on which she broke from the NRA: “They knew that if that bill we had had made it to the house floor, it was a terrible bill, but it would have been voted in because people would have been too afraid to vote against that. And now I’m living proof of that.”
I think all of these stories speak loudly about lobbying efforts from the NRA. And it not just the NRA, campers, its about corporate money controlling elected officials. Maggart was targeted because she broke rank and file on one thing with the NRA and they went after her.
Is this the way it’s going to be?