Oswald Bates goes to Capitol Hill

If you remember the show In Living Color you might remember, Oswald Bates.

In Oswald, Damon Wayans portrayed a man who continually misuses words in an effort to construct more “important sounding” sentences.

“Now, if I may retain my liquids here for one moment. I’d like to continue the ‘redundance’ of my quote, unquote ‘intestinal tract’, you see because to preclude on the issue of world domination would only circumvent – excuse me, circumcise the revelation that reflects the ‘Afro-disiatic’ symptoms which now perpetrates the Jheri Curis activation.”
— Oswald Bates, In Living Color season 1 ep 3

Oh Oswald.

It would seem that when it comes to gun bills, our Tennessee GOP is Oswalding their way through this thing.

From the beginning of this guns in parks shenanigans, the GOP led house has been saying that this bill would override any local laws prohibiting guns in parks. That without exception, guns would be allowed in parks regardless of signage.

However, once the media started asking questions, House Republican Caucus Chairman Oswald…er…Glen Casada said “I would only submit that those who want it to be confusing say it’s confusing. I think the average public — good gracious if Glen Casada can understand this, surely to goodness everybody else can.”

Word Salad, Mr. Chairman.

“But the law’s real clear: It doesn’t say ‘when,’ it says ‘if’ which in a court of law is very clear. So in this case, because Grassland has school functions there, there could not be a permit holder taking a gun on Grassland Park.”

The reporter asked if Casada meant any time, and he clarified that yes… he indeed meant “at any time”.

As the fine folks at the Tennessean point out, Casada is trying to convince the (rightly) outraged constituents and concerned parents of Tennessee that this portion of the bill “property owned, used or operated by any board of education, school, college or university board of trustees, regents or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution” means “if a P.E. class plays frisbee here once, the park is off limits for guns forever” but it doesn’t. It is the general public’s understanding (as well as former Attorney General Robert Cooper, Jr.) that this simply isn’t the case. As the Tennessean summarized, the law only prevents permit holders from carrying their guns in areas of a park where a school event is currently underway… as in actually taking place at the time.

To try and convince us, the people of Tennessee, means he is either ignorant of the details of the bill on which he voted yes or he is being deliberately obtuse about the facts of the legislation he is promoting.

Let’s just saygunnut that he wasn’t outright lying to us and that this was the truth. Let’s live in the pretend Oswald world where one game of frisbee was enough to protect a park from the NRA convention invaders and all the other armed yahoos who just want to ride merry go rounds with their guns strapped to their hips…. as one does.

Let’s say this is the truth.

How would we let them know?

Thanks to a rush job on this nutty ass bill and a desperate effort to avoid attaching a fiscal note, there is no requirement for cities to  remove their no guns signs.

So let’s take Cumberland Park for example. There’s a sign up that says no guns. Despite the (pending) change in the law, there have been no funds made available for new signage or to provide for a representative of the city to go collect said sign.
glenoswald
It’s a sunny day and a man with a gun wants to take his gun for a walk…as one does… at Cumberland Park. According to House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (pictured at right) if a school field trip EVER visits Cumberland Park’s explorer trail to learn about the various plant life, Bobby Baretta has to leave his heat at home. You see, according to Casada’s explanation, one school use makes it off limits for guns.

In reality though, one school use does not a school property make. Our wee botanists wouldn’t prevent Redneck Rambo from trotting out his Don’t Tread on Me shirt and bringing out the big guns for a stroll through the sprinklers.
Confused yet? Me too.

I’m a visual learner though so I worked on a flowchart to help you remember when it is and isn’t okay to bring guns into a local park if Governor Haslam signs this cluster puck into law.

Chart

Clear as… mud?

Add to that the fact that the gun free signs are still going to be up everywhere telling everyone “Hey, this park is safe! It is gun free!” when it ISN’T! It isn’t gun free because they sold our parks to the NRA.

I’d pray on it, but good ol’ Glen even has me a little afraid to do that. You see, during an exchange with a reporter this week…

Reporter: If someone is hit accidentally with a bullet, you guys are fine defending this bill?

Casada: If someone gets run over by an automobile accidentally, there’s nothing I can do about that. These are things beyond, they’re called acts of God, they’re beyond our control.

Holy shit, y’all!

I had no idea that shootings were an act of God. Frankly, I’m terrified. I know I’m supposed to go to the interior room of our house for a tornado, but what the hell do I do for a bullet tornado?

Bullettornado2

Calling a shooting an act of God is a dangerous level of irresponsibility. It sends the message to parents that there is nothing we can do to keep our kids safe (lie) and that there’s nothing gun owners can do to help keep their families just a little bit safer from their guns at home (lie). Is he trying to say gun locks are useless? That gun safety training is useless? That a gun in the hand of a trained police officer is the same as a gun in the hand of a child?

The lows to which our legislators will sink to please the gun lobby never cease to amaze me.

But Glen wasn’t done there. Our amateur theologian and part time politico, had more “expertise” to add to the important issue of child safety. Guns, you see, are no more dangerous than any other common item you might find lying about in a park. Say, a bicycle for example.

Reporter: I’m not trying to debate, but these are the questions that we’re being asked about this. And one of the things that keep getting pointed out to me, is you guys keep talking about criminals, but there are accidents. Permit holders have accidents.

McCormick: Certainly.

Reporter: So, if there’s an accident and a permit holder is in a park, there’s a high chance it’s going to hit a child.

Casada: There’s accidents with bicycles in parks. Should we outlaw bicycles?

Reporter: Yeah, but bikes very rarely kill people.

Casada: That’s not true, I disagree with that statement.

Reporter: Guns are weapons. Are you saying a gun is as safe as bicycle?

Casada: If used properly I am. If used properly.

Reporter: In the event of an accident, which is more likely to kill someone?

Casada: Now we’re back in theoretical. I think in Tennessee we’re dealing with a lot more questions than guns in parks. I think this is a minor thing in the scope of what we’re doing good in Tennessee.

Only we have giant campaigns about bicycle safety telling parents accidents happen all the time. Doctors tell their patients to make sure their kids are wearing helmets. Parents are encouraged to put helmets on their kids, and because of that, actual deaths from a fall from a bicycle are virtually unheard of now. In fact, I couldn’t find one.
Sure people get hit by cars while on bicycles, but not in parks. And do you know what doesn’t happen? Bicycles don’t accidentally discharge and fly across the park hitting a toddler and killing them. So there IS that small difference.

Guns though, in Florida and South Carolina doctors aren’t allowed to talk to their patients about guns and the NRA is trying to get similar legislation passed here. Kids don’t go to the parks dressed like this 

That would be stupid.

Why? Because these vests are for “hunting, range time (I almost literally can’t even with myself right now for typing that) or any other application where gunshots are possible” WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK OF GUNSHOTS AT A PARK?

Apparently they didn’t get the memo that gunshots are possible everywhere. They are an “act of God” and can smite us all down anywhere we go.

Bert

Do we really have to live like this, Bert?

We deserve better. Our kids deserve better. Our parks deserve better. Oswald deserves better. Oswald probably would have DONE better.

Oswald Bates goes to Capitol Hill

Who Brought THAT Guy?

There is always one. You know, THAT guy at the party. The drunk one. The inappropriate one. The offensive one. One party foul right after another. It doesn’t take long before folks are whispering “Where did THIS guy come from? WHO brought him?” He is grabbing ass and downing tequila shots and no one wants to claim him.

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Well THIS right here is what is going on in the great state of Tennessee this week.

Tennessee is celebrating Freedom Festival 2015 (aka the TN General Assembly) instead of protecting sick kids, kids who need help with their education or other disadvantaged groups, we’re spending an awful lot of time discussing protecting the rights of those poor, poor folks that can’t carry their firearms to church, parks, private businesses, work and schools. These folks have worked hard to educate themselves on their firearms.. taking an 8 hour class that according to some lawmakers make them skilled enough to carry like an off duty law enforcement officer.

Now don’t laugh.. I’m sure that COULD feel like forever to the “but firearmz is muh rites!” crowd. After all, we’ve seen their postings online. They can’t spell “Obama” without a spellcheck, 8 hours of actual book learnin must feel like an eternity. It probably feels as daunting as… maybe… say… 120 hours (the amount of firearm training required for law enforcement) if you aren’t use to a classroom environment.

Any who….Guess who is showing their ass at “Freedom” Festival 2015? You guessed it, Captain Foul… or as his friends call him, the NRA. And the big question is who invited these assholes anyway.

Well the state lawmakers say it’s not their fault they are proposing dangerous and down right stupid legislation. They are only doing it because the city of Nashville has brought the NRA’s annual convention to town in April. And it is time to put out or get out….It really has nothing to do with the campaign funds they acquired during their election….

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And the Mayor of Nashville and Convention & Visitors Corporation aren’t claiming THAT guy either. Those lawmakers are just using their big ole’ convention that is funding the overpriced Convention Center as a cop out. It’s not like they courted the NRA for 2 years to bring them here to generate millions in tourist revenue. Nope not their dance partner.

All this finger pointing sure is confusing to us little ole’ constituents. We don’t know who brought them to the party either. BUT we do know this, someone should take their drunk ass home. Kick them out. Call them a cab. Don’t let the door hit ya in the AK-47. Take your guns and shove em. You get the point.Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.09.10 PM

Who Brought THAT Guy?

You can’t uninfringe, on me, dang it!

“I’m uninfringing the rights upon with which you infringed our rights of the amendments of the second!” Said Rep Van Huss of his failed “Firearms Freedom Act”.

Okay, he didn’t actually say that.

That’s what I heard when I read his remarks in the news.Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 4.20.38 PM

What he actually said to the fine folks at the Tennessean was “I believe that the current laws here in Tennessee infringe on the Second Amendment of our U.S. Constitution. I am not bringing this legislation to expand our Second Amendment rights but to (sic) uninfringe them,” Van Huss said.

He also said we shouldn’t decide when people are too stupid to handle weaponry in public telling WKRN “I don’t believe it is my responsibility, our responsibility as government to tell constituents they are not smart enough to handle their weapons. I think Tennesseans can make that decision on their own.”

You mean Tennesseans can make decisions for themselves, Rep Van Huss? That’s interesting because on your website you say you don’t think Tennesseans are smart enough to make decisions for their own wombs. And you’re for “traditional marriage” so you obviously believe that Tennesseans are too stupid to decide who they should marry. And
you’ve filed a bill that seeks to amend our constitution to “recognize that our liberties do not come from governments, but from Almighty God, our Creator and Savior”. That sounds an awful lot like you don’t think we are smart enough to make our own decisions about religion.

But guns. Guns that shoot bullets and kill lots of people in a short period of time. Guns that unintentionally discharge. Guns that require locks that seemingly mystify a large percentage of the gun owning population… Now guns we’re good to make decisions about right?

That’s weird because I haven’t seen any kids find an unlocked uterus under the bed and accidentally shoot his baby brother. I haven’t seen any stories in the Tennessean about Taoists being unintentionally discharged at a Walmart and killing someone. Am I being punked?

We’re smart enough to make decisions for ourselves without government interference? Then why can’t we make the decision to not allow guns in our business parking lot? Why can’t we make decisions about the direction of the damn diagonal line in our business’ “no firearms” sign? Why can’t we decide (via the local officials we elect) whether or not we want guns on our playgrounds? Local officials are much more representative of the district than someone on a state level.

This is a man who said “We might have to wait until we have a new governor to get some of this good Second Amendment legislation passed.”

He’s speaking about our REPUBLICAN governor (who has a B- from the NRA, by the way) of a state that Guns and Ammo ranks in the top third of all states for “gun friendliness”. Perhaps the problem isn’t so much our governor as it is the shoddy, shoot em up, bat shit insanity of the laws that our representatives keep proposing?

Seriously this guy wrote, carried and got PASSED a bill banning the UN from monitoring our
elections in TN because (and this is a direct quote from his website) the UN “sent a Frenchman and an Armenian” to monitor us. Oh noes! A Frenchman and an Armenian?!? What with all our arms, couldn’t we have amassed a military response to stop these invading forces?

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You can’t uninfringe, on me, dang it!

THE FREEDOM LOVIN’ YOSEMITE SAM CHRONICLES OF THE TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE

When someone says Nashville, you may think of rhinestones, Elvis, big hair and Conway Twitty but the real Nashville is actually considered the newest “It” city and is much closer to the bustling metropolis featured on ABC’s hit show. Especially the politics…

Much like Taylor Swift, the Tennessee General Assembly has decided to simply “shake off” the “haters” and just be free to do their own thing. Taylor got to reinvent herself so why can’t they just start again fresh as well and reinvent Tennessee as the Wild West? This year, affectionately dubbed “The Year of the Gun”, Tennessee Republicans have introduced several bills designed to crank that DeLorean up to 88 and send us right back to the days of Billy the Kid.

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SB628/HB320Carry like a Cop – This bill wants to give someone with a handgun permit the same gun carrying privileges as an off-duty cop. You know how law enforcement officers go through extensive training? Here in Nashville, the Metro Nashville PD require 120 hours of specific firearm training in topics like: “shoot and don’t shoot scenarios” and “escalate and de-escalate scenarios.” Every year, they also have to go through additional training and re-qualify to stay in the field. But to get a permit in the state of Tennessee, all you have to do is attend a 4 hour class with 4 hours for range qualifying and score 70 percent on the test. 55 rounds of ammo and the State of Tennessee says you are qualified to carry a gun and the Tennessee General Assembly believes you are qualified to carry like a police officer. This means you can bring your gun in a hospital, football game, bar, nightclub, school (if you notify the principal) or anywhere other than a courthouse.

Rep. Todd was almost falling down drink according to police affidavits.
Rep. Todd was almost falling down drunk according to police affidavits.  Also, he had a LOADED GUN.

And speaking of guns in bars, don’t forget that state representative Curry Todd who pushed through the “guns in bars” bill of 2009 and promised everyone that handgun permit owners would never do something as foolish as drink while armed- yeah, that guy was arrested about a year later for a DUI with a loaded handgun. So…

SB070/HB481Guns in School Parking Lots – This bill says that while guns are too dangerous to have inside the school, they are perfectly safe to have 6 feet away. This means teachers as well as students of legal carrying age. No 18 year olds ever got into trouble on campus at our high school so this should be perfectly safe.

SB207/HB240No Background Checks – This bill says if you got a permit within the last 5 years, you don’t need a background check to purchase a gun. Because, really, how much trouble can you get into in 5 years?

SB1239/HB1112I Said No Background Checks! – Who needs background checks? No one who has been issued a handgun permit, say the sponsors of this bill. A permit holder would certainly never stalk or abuse an intimate partner or assault someone or make threats, so why waste time on a background check? Oh yeah! Because they actually save lives. That’s right. This bill will also prevent the person selling the gun from having to include the TBI unique approval number on the firearm transaction record. I’m sure that’s because with a number Obama might create a registry (he won’t) and with that (nope) might come after (can’t) and confiscate (nuh-uh) all the guns evar (not a chance). Or it might be that the people who write these laws are catering to an increasingly paranoid constituency force-fed a 24 hour news cycle of fear… Maybe.

SB168/HB202Right to jerk state – Let’s say you’re a private business owner. You decide that you don’t want your customers or employees carrying guns cause, well, sometimes disgruntled people shoot other people. You are a small business owner. You built that! But here’s the thing: if your employee wants to bring their gun to work and leave in the car in case they need to dispute a performance review defend their Prius from ISIS on the commute to work, you are powerless. In fact, if you take “an adverse action against them”, they can sue you. Tennessee prides itself on being right to fire people work state. Except when guns are concerned because ‘ Merika.

That's gonna leave a mark.  This dude took shrapnel TO HIS FACE when he shot up some tannerite.
That’s gonna leave a mark. This dude took shrapnel TO HIS FACE when he shot up some tannerite.

SB874/HB934Let’s blow some shit up! – You know what’s even cooler than shooting at Obama zombie targets? Shooting at stuff that blows up! This bill exempts the use of exploding materials for lawful sporting activities, even though they’ve been known to cause bodily injury. Big government is always interfering with their “safety standards”. Americans pride themselves on choice (except for women) and if we want to recklessly shoot at things that may inadvertently shoot back, that’s our God-given right!

SB783/HB677We need a state gun! – We already have a state bird, a state song, a state flower but we what we really need is a state gun! And not some sissy musket or a pansy hunting rifle that brings to mind a kindly grandpa taking his tow-headed grandson out hunting in the beautiful mountains of the Volunteer state. Screw that noise! We need a big gun! A gun that could blow up a tank or a maybe even a helicopter! Cause nothing says Tennessee like a mockingbird, Rocky Top, an iris, and a Barret Model 82A1 anti-material sniper rifle.

SB778/HB1059Tax free guns! – Hey! You know what the state of Tennessee needs? Less tax revenue and more GUNS! Yeehaw! In Tennessee, just before school resumes in the fall, the state allows individuals to purchase a certain amount of school related items, including clothing, school supplies and computers, tax-free. Of course, it makes perfect sense to lump firearms, ammo, and other firearm accessories in with school supplies since every family needs to save a little money when they’re buying notebooks, backpacks, AK-47s and armor-piercing bullets. That shit is expensive.

Which brings us to the section I like to call “Billjobs”. These are bills that are clearly intended to serve someone, or a special interest group.

SB149/HB173Guns in Schools – This bill was custom tailored for a county commissioner by the name of Barb Sturgeon who ran afoul of the law when she brought her loaded weapon to a school board meeting in her gun holster handbag from “Gun Tote’N Mamas”. This is the same purse, incidentally, that the mother in Idaho was using to holster her weapon when she was shot by her toddler at her local Walmart.

As the law stands, it is illegal to bring guns into schools, and on a property used by a school. Ms. Sturgeon was arrested and after much media attention, she was indicted. One of the bill sponsors said this bill would’ve protected poor Ms. Sturgeon from this unfair treatment. One of the other sponsors pointed out that sometimes gun owners might want to attend a booster club spaghetti dinner or something of that nature and he or she might want to bring their gun with them. Given the violent nature of booster club parents, this desire is understandable. However, on occasion students and siblings are present at school after hours and at off property school events and despite our best efforts, accidents do happen. An accident with a firearm at a school event could be disastrous.

SB1171/HB995Guns in parks part 1 (AKA – Small Government!!! Unless we really want to make you do something!!!) The NRA REALLY wants guns in Tennessee parks. They want it bad and they want it before their convention comes to Nashville the second week of April. Several years ago, the legislature passed a law allowing guns in parks BUT, agreed to let individual cities decide whether or not they wanted to participate because, obviously. This is the party of small government, right? In what was a totally unsurprising development, every large city said, “thanks, but no freaking way” to allowing guns in their parks and playgrounds. The mayors said “no”, the police chiefs said, “no” and the city councils said “no.” In addition to the obvious reasons, many parks in Nashville are actually used by schools. But now their ethics (yay, small government!) are at odds with their wallets (uh oh, NRA) and something has to give. Which one do you think is more flexible? Although the mayors of the opt out cities are still lining up in opposition to this nonsense and have made cogent arguments, the NRA says it’s just too damn hard for gun owners to know which cities allow guns and which ones don’t. (These are people we should trust around our children with loaded firearms, mind you, but we shouldn’t expect them to be able to tell where they can and can’t bring their gun.) And after all, isn’t making a visiting lobbyist for the gun manufacturers comfortable more important than the wishes of the local Mayor, police chief, physicians, parents, business owners, etc?

SB314/HB274Guns in Parks part 2 (“But y’all! Company’s comin’!” Edition) – Cause just one “guns in parks” bill isn’t enough for the Tennessee Legislature and their NRA lobbying money. It’s always good to have a spare in case something goes wrong with your first bill, I suppose, and just maybe no one will notice that this bill is a veritable love letter to the NRA. The entire first page of the bill itself is a justification for why the entire state should change the statewide current law just so that NRA members can “see the whole city” (something they are able to do now, but not while armed). So, let’s disregard the wishes of local citizens to cater to big money lobbyists from Washington! Why not? Oh, and while no one’s looking, let’s also slip some well-crafted language into the bill. In addition to parks and playgrounds where kids play and have recess, let’s also include “civic centers, or other building facility, area, or property owned, used or operated by any municipal, county, or state government, thereof for recreational purposes.” The NRA convention is to be held in the brand new; city owned and operated Music City Center. I suppose this means that if Philip Morris decides to have a convention here, they will re-write the citywide smoking ban to allow smoking in the Music City Center as well as our bars and restaurants. An adult entertainment convention could really shake things up with such an accommodating legislature. What concessions would they make for the adult film industry? In the Tennessee legislature, nothing is beyond the range of possibility. Oh, and the effective date of this bill? You guessed it! The week before the NRA convention.

Hey y'all!  He's single!  He hates homsoseckshuls, eyebrows, but loves guns!
Hey ladies! He’s single! Turnoffs: homsoseckshuls, eyebrows.  Turn ons:  guns! Pew Pew!

**The Senate sponsor of this bill, the curiously eyebrow-less Sen. Joey Hensley, who’s mostly been known for supporting bills like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill of 2013 or the current “It’s OK for medical professionals to refuse care to LGBT people” bill, was in the news this week. His ex-wife filed an order of protection against him after he allegedly knocked her to the ground with his open truck door. As one does…

SB774/HB682Punish the Posters – Years ago when the legislature decided that people needed to carry guns into bars, many restaurant and bar owners took issue. A concession was made to allow private businesses actually decide for themselves whether or not to allow guns into their establishment and to post signs on their doors that prohibit firearms. Boy, did that piss off the gun lovers in the legislature! Well, this bill exacts their revenge. It includes extremely specific language about the size of the letters in a sign and even includes, I kid you not, the exact angle and direction of the slash mark. All businesses who post will be required to go through the hassle and expense of ordering new signs. For no reason.

One of the Firearm Freedom sponsors, Rep.Micah VanHuss and his great big gun.
One of the Firearm Freedom sponsors, Rep.MIcah VanHuss and his big gun.

SB784/HB684The “Open Carry Firearms Freedom Act of 2015- Fuck Yeah, ‘Merika!” bill – This is seriously called the Firearms Freedom Act. It mandates each Firearm come with a side of Freedom Fries. No really, it’s an open carry bill. Concealed carry bad, open carry good. Ooookay. Another doozy from Sen. Mae Beavers and her pal in the House, Rep. Micah Van Huss. Open carry of your handgun- no permit required but if you want to conceal it, you need a permit. Unless of course….SB780/HB535 passes…in which case….

SB780/HB535We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Permits! – You know what? Let’s just make it easier for everyone – screw permits! Who the hell needs a permit to carry (open or concealed) in our fair state? Nobody! Sen. Mae “Bang Bang” Beavers and Rep. Rick Womick, both longtime outspoken NRA lapdogs Second Amendment advocates think that the simple act of owning a gun means you are obviously law-abiding and responsible- duh! – and do not need any kind of permit to prove it. So, just go buy yourself a gun and just carry it wherever you want, patriot!

And, of course, no Year of the Gun slate of legislation without a big ole middle finger to Obama, gubmint, libturd, commies… Without further ado, I give you:

SB1110/HB1341NULLIFICATION! Hey Obummer! The hell with your government, you gun grabbin’ sumbitch tyrant! You ain’t gonna come to Tennessee and tell us what to do! This bill wants to prohibit the use of public funds, personnel, or property to enforce any law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories – Libturds! Similar bills have been filed this year in states like Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Take that, jack booted thugs!

Wow- Moses seems mad.
Wow- Moses seems mad.

So, ladies and gentleman of the great state of Tennessee, if you think this crap is flat-out wackadoo, you’d best exercise your civic duty and let your elected representatives in the legislature know how you feel. Get on those phones now and make your concerns known to anyone and everyone you can!

Not sure who your legislators are? No worries – just head right here and type in your address. And make a few phone calls! Won’t take you but a few minutes, promise!

THE FREEDOM LOVIN’ YOSEMITE SAM CHRONICLES OF THE TENNESSEE LEGISLATURE