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letter to the editor
Tennessee’s Speaker of the House is a perversion of ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms’


A couple of weeks ago Jimmy Naifeh demonstrated his belief is above all the elected officials in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

He started his article by quoting a mathematician. Policies and quotes on anything related to the Constitution should not be made by mathematicians. The quotes that should be followed are by the founding fathers and the people that helped write the Constitution.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms ... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes ... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” — Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book.”

Tennessee is suppose to have a representative form of government made up of 33 senators and 99 house members that vote by majority to set policy and create laws for the state of Tennessee.

In the article Speaker Naifeh submitted to the papers for the April 9 printing, Mr. Naifeh speaks of a power that the Speaker’s Office holds in the state legislature that allows the Speaker to vote in committees if he so chooses and tells how he rarely uses this “privilege.” He then goes on to talk about how “as long as I’m Speaker, we (citizens of the state) will never have to worry about our Second Amendment right being infringed upon.”

I don’t know the exact track number of Naifeh using his committee voting power on non-Second Amendment bills, but I do know that he has used this power more than once on bills that support the Second Amendment to defeat them.

Why does Speaker Naifeh not let these bills go to the floor for a fair representative vote? These bills are passing the Senate by unanimous vote, except the Restaurant Bill, which had nine against. Still these bills pass overwhelmingly in the Senate. It appears that Naifeh may know they will pass and be signed into law unless he uses his “Special Power” to kill them in committee where Tennesseans cannot get complete representation.

Speaker Naifeh, in his article, talks about how he will defend Tennesseans’ right to bear arms and recognizes the need for responsibility. I absolutely agree with him because in the Tennessee Handgun Permit Class you learn that if you own a handgun you are responsible for it if you are there or not. In Tennessee’s Constitution the State legislature has the right to restrict the wearing of arms for one purpose. That purpose is having a “view to reduce crime.”

I question Speaker Naifeh’s reasoning behind defeating the Restaurant Bill (mistakenly called the Bar bill) that would have allowed Tennessee Handgun Permit holders to carry their handguns into restaurants that served alcohol as long as the Handgun permit holder does not drink. The law specifically states that if a Handgun Permit Holder consumes alcohol while carrying he can and will be arrested for intent of going armed.

This Restaurant law would not have changed this. I ask the Speaker to explain to the 190,000 permit holders why he believes that eating in a Restaurant will cause the Handgun permit holder to go into a violent rage just because alcohol is served in the building. Speaker Naifeh says this bill was “not to protect or defend the 2nd Amendment of this country.”

I want Speaker Naifeh to read the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Tennessee Constitution and show the 190,000 permit holders the part that says the “Right to Keep and Bear arms, unless your eating.” Present law forces law abiding citizens to leave a firearm outside unattended while they eat which could give a criminal access to a gun just by breaking a window. Speaker Naifeh, you must agree that a responsible gun owner must be in control of their firearm at all times and keep it where unauthorized people cannot have access. Forcing people to leave a gun somewhere else while they eat is not a “view to reduce crime” and the Restaurant Bill would have solved this problem. Kentucky, Georgia, and Florida, to name only a few, have passed all the Gun Bills that have been killed in this state’s committees using your “special power” and none of the states that have passed these bills into law have had the “old west shootouts.”

The evidence and history are already there proving you have stopped these bills for reasons known only to you. The reason to “keep us safe” as Speaker Naifeh said in his article is proven wrong because the evidence and history in other states that have these laws prove otherwise.

I’d like to comment on the “Right to Privacy” which is important to all 6.5 Million citizens in Tennessee. Speaker Naifeh used his “special powers” to defeat a bill the would seal the records of the 190,000 Tennes-see Handgun Permit holders.

What Speaker Naifeh did not reveal in his article was that this bill would not keep legitimate inquires, such as from the police, from obtaining the records as needed. This bill was designed to prevent Identity Theft of permit holders, which is hard to do because some newspapers are printing names and addresses of permit holders each month giving criminals access to valuable information on law abiding citizens. If a person is planning on raping, stalking, or killing someone, under present law, all he or she has to do is contact the

Tennessee Department of Safety to find out whether or not a potential victim is armed or not. This Bills passage would have benefited all 6.5 million residents.

The fact is that in any state that has expanded Handgun Permit Holders access, crime has dropped. The Carry permit program has been so successful it has expanded to 48 states. Tennessee permits are not honored in all these states, but it is honored in most. Permit holders have proven throughout history that they are responsible and they are not to be feared unless you are a criminal type out to do harm. Keeping records sealed help the unarmed by keeping the criminal guessing on who to attack and who not, which may be one of the reasons more crime is now moving into “Gun Free Zones”

I ask Speaker Naifeh to start putting his votes into actually protecting the 2nd amendment and the Constitution of Tennessee by voting for bills to “reduce crime” instead of voting against guns, permit holders, and the right to self defense.

It’s sad to live in an age where the Second Amendment, which was so important to the founders of this country that they put it Second in the Bill of Rights, has to continually be defended from those that want to rewrite history. The Signatures and the rights of the constitution may not mean much to some, but for the citizens that know how this country was formed it’s as important as Church on Sunday and Babies first words. It disappoints me that people continue to dispute these rights.



David Borum

Maryville

 

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