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Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't ask, don't tell in TN

LT. Governor Ron Ramsey  has come out with a concept of what he wants to do about the guns in cars legislation.

Not bad, but  I still see pitfalls on the track forward for that  concept. First, it's  no business of the employer if I may own a gun or not. Second,  businesses will still see it as a loss of their right to post their property.

A lose/lose deal.

I have been working on a concept of my own trying to find a win/win solution on the issue. So far, everyone I have run it by likes it.

I call it the "Don't  ask, don't tell for guns" What it would do is really pretty simple.

First, the state would say a private business could still post their property but not make search of a vehicle for a gun in a car a condition  of employment.

Second, if an employer did search a vehicle for another reason (such as suspected employee theft)  and by chance they did find a gun then they could fire someone  but it would count against their unemployment.

Third,  it would remove the state from the equation. It would no longer be a state crime if you were found to have a gun in your car parked on private property that posted.

I have a few more wrinkles I have thought about adding regarding liability but those could be added
or subtracted.

As I said, so far I see it as a win/win. Employers can post but can't go on search missions. Gun owners  are no longer under threat of having their car searched or being marked a criminal should one be found in their car.

More or less its "Don't ask, don't tell for guns".

Input welcome.

UPDATE: No intent was made to tie this post to the latest act of violence. I did not check the news
previous to posting. My thoughts and prayers go out to those slain and their families in their time of pain..


  1. The problem will be that the employer will SAY they are searching the vehicle because of suspected theft.

    The solution is that the employee's car should be inviolate from a search by the employer any way.

    Why not experiment. Allow state employees to keep guns in their cars on State property and see what happens.

    1. We could draft the language to be similar to the language for the state in search

    2. I don't think the gun rights groups will accept anything that does not cover semi public parking lots as well.

  2. Senator, as always you make a great series of points and I agree with you.

    However, there is one concept buried in here that I cannot stand. It comes from the statement: "businesses will still see it as a loss of their right to post their property."

    TCA 39.17.1359 is the worst law on the books in the entire state. It allows one person to define when another person is guilty of a crime or not. It creates classes of people. And it is only mirrored in two other states (OH and TX) out of the 48 other states that allow CCW.

    If a business posts, then that is their right to do so. But it should not have a weight of law behind it.

    I'll agree to Mr. Ramsey's compromise if we can strike 39.17.1359 from the books entirely.

    1. The removal of that part of law is in my bill. I don't think the businesses will like their loss of the ability to post while if we go with my way they don't really lose but gun owners get what they really want.

  3. Since when does an individual's "rights" trump another individual's "rights"? As a private property owner, I should be allowed to say who comes on my property and what they can bring with them. If I say no guns, that's my right. It's also the right of the other person to not accept my invitation for them to come on my property. The Second Amendments prohibits the government from infringing on gun rights, but it does not prohibit property owners from "infringing".

    1. I believe the court case that started governments ability to decide what private property owners could and could not do On their own property was The Supreme Court decision in wicker V Filburn. An example of what this court case started was things like handicap parking and accessibility as well as codes enforcement and food safety testing

    2. Also Courts have decided that your automobile is private property that is why your car may not be searched just because it may be traveling on a public road you do not automatically give your permission just By nature of your driving on the road there must be probable Cause The argument is you do not give up that right of privacy just because you may park in a semi private parking lot And that lot may be regulated similar to a business that is regulated by the state

  4. Don't just delete 39-17-1359. The entire criminal code is full of bloated garbage. Start by deleting ALL the gun laws.

  5. If you allow the ability to terminate an individual who has simply "kept" a legal item in their personal property (vehicle as defined in 39-11-611) then you ask the legal, law abiding to chance the loss of income and benefits, while doing nothing to offer replacement of the production of safety or security, by either the employer or the State. Our courts have determined that the State has no obligation to provide protection to any individual, its sole responsibility is to investigate crime after it occurs. State law also denies any responsibility for an employer, facility of education or store to be responsible to provide that protection for an employee, shopper or student on their traverse to and from work, shopping or school. The TN Constitution does put the onus squarely on the individual Citizen for the production of their defense in Article 1 Section 26, and the ruling by our State Supreme Court Andrews v. State fleshes out the facts of the Constitution and the law.


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