I just got a call from a gentleman named George Fleischer, who'd read my column on guns in bars in this week's Flyer. Mr. Fleischer is appalled by the proposed legislation and wondered if there were some way the Flyer could help to organize protests in Nashville, charter buses, etc. I told him that the Flyer would be happy (thrilled) to be able to report on any such activities, but that we couldn't really become part of the protest itself.
Therein lies much of the problem. There are no lobbyists or special-interest groups battling the well-organized and well-funded gun lobby, which was able to promote the wishes of a small minority (those with handgun carry permits) into state law. I don't believe for a minute that a majority of Tennesseans prefers that guns be allowed in bars and restaurants. This is precisely the kind of law that is generated by special interests. It's emotional legislating, designed to appeal to red-meat conservatives and appease a powerful (and generous) lobby. These laws pass because there is no blowback on the legislators — no opposing lobbyists raising public concerns about gun proliferation in places serving alcohol.
I fervently hope petitions are initiated, buses are chartered to Nashville, and voices are raised in protest all over the state. I'm not optimistic those things will happen, but If they do, we'll be there to cover it. Mr. Fleischer is interested in getting the ball rolling, if you are. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.