Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Burchett and Brileyworld

State Senator Tim Burchett appeared in an online chat in the Tennessean yesterday about his bill to expand the right to carry a firearm in Tennessee. Burchett's support of gun rights has long been established, and was made a matter of very public knowledge when Burchett used his weapon as a means of defense during a robbery attempt last year.

I have always found Burchett to be a sort of weird enigma, he can't seem to make up his mind where he stands. He voted for John Wilder for Senate Speaker in 2005-and while I support his commitment to constructive bipartisanship, sometimes he crosses the aisle in ways that make him appear contradictory, to say the least.

His latest contradiction comes right from the Tennessean's chat:

Question: How do you feel about broadening the bill to include those places that were included in the House amendment?

TB: This was done to actually kill the bill.

TB: but it backfired and folks have started to embrace the idea. I will not allow the bill to be amended to broaden it.

Why not allow this to be broadened? As Burchett pointed out, the amendment, brought by Nashville Representative Rob Briley, was an attempt to kill the bill. Briley apparently believed that not only would other Democrats actually try to kill this legislation, but that there would be some kind of popular outcry against it. As Briley proves time and again, he apparently lives in some tiny Davidson County box and it apparently doesn't register with him that outside of Brileyworld this is still a very conservative State. There has been a public outcry, alright-in favor of the amended bill! As a result of Briley's total ignorance of political reality, he then added another amendment to post signage at all State parks that notified people of their right to carry a firearm, making the fiscal note on the bill (which has been essentially nothing) too exorbitant-or so he thinks.

Burchett is right, Tennesseans are embracing the idea, as Frank Niceley, the bill's sponsor in the House (and my State Representative) can attest. This bill is extremely popular in our district, and the newly-amended version is even more so. It may be that Briley thought that his amendment would kill the bill, but it has had the opposite effect. Burchett, who makes great political hay over his pro-Second Amendment stance, ought to embrace this development and let the last laugh be on Rob Briley, whose level of abject ignorance of ROT (the Rest of Tennessee) never ceases to amaze those of us outside Nashville.



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