Back to Blog: The Governor’s Race

     Now that the General Assembly is winding dow, I will start turning all of my focus to the upcoming gubernatorial primaries and other big races.  Part of keeping you informed will be updating my blog, since I can’t fit all of the comments from the candidates in the stories you see on air.  Today, I spoke to all of the candidates about 2nd Amendment rights and the controversial “Guns in Bars bill.”

    Here are some of the answers:

Zach Wamp:

Q: If you were governor, would you have signed “Guns in Bars” ?

A: “I believe the Tennessee General Assembly is responding to the will of the people and the Constitution of our state.  So I would have signed the legislation and thanked the General Assembly for making right to carry permits valid across our state because these are law-abiding citizens to go through the training and the schooling to be able to carry a handgun. We have not seen problems with this law. We have had a more secure state with this law.”

Q: 2nd Amendment issues will likely come up if Republicans maintain the majority in the General Assembly, what would be your stance on these issues?

A: “Well I’m a strong 2nd Amendment protector and I have been the 15 years that I’ve been a member of the United States Congress and have basically a 100 percent record on this. Guns are a 2nd Amendment right it’s a constitutional issue and you have to look at the legislation but if the legislation that the General Assembly sends me as governor basically protects people’s right to have and bear arms in this state, then I’m gonna sign the legislation and in this case a right to carry permit statute in Tennessee has been a  good thing, not a bad thing. This is one of those consitutional issues that states need to stand straight and tall on.”

Bill Haslam

Q: If you were governor, would you have signed “Guns in Bars” ?

A: “I would have signed it. Number one, I think permit holders understand they can not consume alcohol and I’m not certain why they can walk into McDonalds but not walk into Chili’s.  Number two, I think it’s important as long as that individual property owner can decide what happens on his or her own property and that restaurant or bar owner can make the determination whether they want people with their carry permits coming inside or not.”

Q: 2nd Amendment issues will likely come up if Republicans maintain the majority in the General Assembly, what would be your stance on these issues?

A: “I think the 2nd Amendment clearly gives the right for individuals to bear arms and the Supreme Court has affirmed that.  As governor, I’ll work to protect that but I think we have some big challenges facing us as a state in terms of the state budget, and continuing some reform in education and primarily focusing on jobs going forward.  As governor you’re going to see me primarily focused on these things, but I will fight to protect people’s 2nd Amendment rights.”

Ron Ramsey:

Q: If you were governor, would you have signed “Guns in Bars” ?

A:  “I’d sign the bill. This is much ado about nothing. We’re the 36th state to adopt a law like this and I’d challenge anyone to find me one documented case where this has been abused. When I carried the gun carry bill in 1997, we saw the same mass hysteria that we’re seeing now, saying that you can’t trust ordinary citizens with a firearm. We have almost 300,000 permit holders now and basically zero problems with them.”

Q: 2nd Amendment issues will likely come up if Republicans maintain the majority in the General Assembly, what would be your stance on these issues?

A: “I may be one of  the biggest proponent of 2nd Amendment rights in the state of Tennessee. I believe in law-abiding citizens having the right to defend themselves, it’s that simple.  When we’re talking about felons having firearms, when we’re talking about crooks with guns I’ll throw the book at them. We need to make sure that law-abiding citizens rights are protected and we do that by making sure that criminals don’t have guns.”

Mike McWherter sent a statement:

Q:If you were governor, would you have signed “Guns in Bars” ?

A: “While I support the rights of gun owners to carry their weapons, there are some situations that are too volatile and unpredictable to allow the introduction of loaded weapons. I would have liked to work with legislators to craft legislation that addressed the difference between taking a gun into an Applebee’s at noon to eat lunch and bringing one into a Honky-tonk at 1 a.m. to start trouble. However, the legislation that Governor Bredesen vetoed did not address common sense safety issues and I am unable to support it.” 

Q: 2nd Amendment issues will likely come up if Republicans maintain the majority in the General Assembly, what would be your stance on these issues?

A: “As a member of the NRA I fully support our 2nd amendment rights and would work to ensure those rights are protected.”

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