On March 3rd, Governor Phil Bredesen signed into law legislation that would forbid the destruction of safe and operable guns that are confiscated from criminals by police. The law requires police agencies to either sell the guns or retain and use them for law enforcement.
The bill's sponsor, state senator Doug Jackson, said the law was supported by the NRA. Well, of course it was. In Tennessee, the NRA tells our legislators what it wants, and they dutifully follow orders. Witness our enlightened state laws allowing guns in restaurants, bars, state parks, city parks, etc. Do you think that law came in response to public demand?
It's amazing how so-called conservatives who complain about state and federal intrusion into local government matters have no problem with the state dictating how local law enforcement agencies handle confiscated weapons. The Shelby County Sheriff's Department has been destroying such weapons since 2006. Now, the Sheriff's Department will have to get into the gun-selling business, because the state knows best, right, boys?
These people are sluts for the NRA, pure and simple. So what if our sheriff decided it was a better policy not to put guns back on the street in Shelby County. The NRA wants a law that overrules local mandate, so our good ol' boys in the legislature come through for 'em.
Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, I say. Here's a modest proposal: Let's start reselling all merchandise confiscated by local police. We could solve every budgetary problem we have if we sold all that perfectly operable cocaine and pot sitting around in police evidence lockers. Of course, we wouldn't sell to just anybody. You'd have to present evidence that you have no criminal record and sign a pledge that you'd only consume the drugs in your own home. I think we could assume that most people would abide by the rules. Don't you? I know I would.
Yeah, I know the analogy isn't perfect and that cops selling drugs is a wacky idea. I can hear the gun lovers already cranking up their fancy e-mail machines. It was a joke, folks. But here's another joke: I think if there was a powerful lobby behind the idea, the whores in our Tennessee legislature would probably pass it.
The next time you're driving around Memphis, pay attention to how many empty buildings you pass. They are everywhere, in all sizes and shapes — huge ones, funky little storefronts, old factories, abandoned strip malls, vacant bungalows and ranch houses. They are in almost every neighborhood, testaments to expired dreams of business success or home ownership. Most of them are decrepit, waiting like old shelter dogs for rescue — or destruction.