Rep. Rick Womick Continues Anti-Gay Hissy Fit

Fresh off his unsuccessful attempt to have Gov. Bill Haslam impeached over gay marriage, loony Tennessee Republican (I realize that’s redundant) Rep. Rick Womick would now like the state of Tennessee to stop issuing all marriage licenses:

Womick is calling for Tennessee to revert back to a common-law state on marriage, the way it was before the Civil War, and stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

“We as a state, as a legislature would then be standing up the Supreme Court and saying: ‘You are out of bounds. You don’t have the authority to tell us what we can or can’t do. And you can’t make us issue licenses not only to same sex couples but to heterosexual couples. You can’t make us do anything if it’s not in the Constitution,’” Womick said. “It is a state’s rights issue.”

“The way it was before the Civil War.” Yes, that’s a forward thinking party for you! Nothing says “bold ideas for the future” like a crackpot who wants us to revert to the way things were before the Civil War. He knows that was 150 years ago, right? (I have the sneaking suspicion that there are a few other areas of social policy he’d like to revert to how they were before the Civil War, too.)

Of course, Rick Womick is a certifiably crazy person, who believes Agenda 21 is a real thing and is convinced an “electromagnetic pulse bomb” was detonated outside of Shelbyville in 2013. For a medley of his hits, check out this recent run-down.

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Filed under GLBT, Tennessee, Tennessee politics

Laboratories

If our states are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, then the past decade’s rush to loosen gun control laws on the state level should tell us something.

And, indeed, we’re starting to see some results:

In Missouri, Fewer Gun Restrictions and More Gun Killings

In the past decade, Missouri has been a natural experiment in what happens when a state relaxes its gun control laws. For decades, it had one of the nation’s strongest measures to keep guns from dangerous people: a requirement that all handgun buyers get a gun permit by undergoing a background check in person at a sheriff’s office.

But the legislature repealed that in 2007 and approved a flurry of other changes, including, last year, lowering the legal age to carry a concealed gun to 19. What has followed may help answer a central question of the gun control debate: Does allowing people to more easily obtain guns make society safer or more dangerous?

[…]

Research by Daniel Webster, the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, found that in the first six years after the state repealed the requirement for comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, the gun homicide rate was 16 percent higher than it was the six years before. During the same period, the national rate declined by 11 percent. After Professor Webster controlled for poverty and other factors that could influence the homicide rate, and took into account homicide rates in other states, the result was slightly higher, rising by 18 percent in Missouri.

Federal death data released this month for 2014 showed a continuation of the trend, he said. Before the repeal, from 1999 to 2006, Missouri’s gun homicide rate was 13.8 percent higher than the national rate. From 2008 to 2014, it was 47 percent higher. (The new data also showed that the national death rate from guns was equal to that from motor vehicle crashes for the first time since the government began systematically tracking it.)

Of course, the NRA will tell you that because the homicide rate is so high, everyone needs to be armed “to protect myself and my family.” Nice how that works.

As this story makes clear, the people most affected by these changes are poor, usually in urban neighborhoods, and people of color. The NRA meme is broadcast straight to rural whites; the impact is felt by urban African American neighborhoods. And the gun makers profit. Same as it ever was:

“There is this idea that law-abiding citizens’ rights are being secured,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a professor of criminology at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. “In fact, it’s the people most inclined to do harm whose privileges are being secured.”

As Rosilyn Temple tells it, guns have become so prevalent in her Kansas City neighborhood that owning one is about as common as owning a cellphone. “You can’t buy liquor, but you can carry a gun,” she said, alluding to the legal age to obtain a concealed carry permit. The legal age to buy alcohol in Missouri is 21.

Republicans love to say, “we don’t need new gun control laws, we just need to enforce the ones we have.” Meanwhile, they pass legislation making it harder to do just that:

The changes have complicated the daily work of the police. Col. D. Samuel Dotson III, the police chief in St. Louis, said a recent change that made it legal to carry a firearm in a vehicle without a permit had made it harder for officers to connect an illegal gun to a person during a traffic stop. Professor Rosenfeld, of the University of Missouri, analyzed hundreds of arrests involving guns from 2011 and found that 40 percent of the cases were never prosecuted, because the change made it harder to prove the charges.

Who does this make sense to? Republicans raking in the NRA cash, of course.

If our states are supposed to be laboratories of democracy, then the people are guinea pigs.

BTW, if you haven’t seen Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq yet, go.

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Filed under gun control, gun violence

I Hate Guns Because People Are Stupid

Remember that tragic case out of New Mexico where four-year-old Lilly Garcia was shot and killed in a road rage incident on I-40? The killer has been found and he claims it was all a terrible accident:

Lilly had been driving with her father and 7-year-old brother in their red Dodge truck when another car pulled up next to them and began shooting into the vehicle on the westbound Interstate 40. Lilly was shot in the head and later died at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Are you curious as to how that scenario could in any way be an “accident”? I know I am!

When questioned, Torrez told investigators that he was “in fear for his life” because Garcia’s father was trying to run him off the road. He said he tried to get away, but the truck kept coming back, so Torrez did the only thing he could think of: He grabbed his gun and fired at the truck.

“I shot at him,” he said.

Okay, stop right there, buckaroo. That is not an accident. That is you being incredibly stupid. Let’s review the golden moment here, where everything changed for two families:

…so Torrez did the only thing he could think of: He grabbed his gun and fired at the truck.

Guns make people stupid. That is a plain fact. If we are to take his story at face value and believe that he felt threatened, we should ponder what might have happened if he didn’t have a gun. Maybe he would have done some more thinking. Maybe he’d have thought, “Gee I wish I had a gun but dangit I don’t,” and then gone on to, “but I DO have my cell phone, so I can call 911!”

Or, “Am I really sure he’s following me? Maybe it’s my imagination. Maybe I should slow way down, drop behind him, and see what happens.”

Or, “Maybe I should exit off the interstate and see if he follows me.”

Or, “Maybe I should drive to a police station or a crowded area.” Or any number of other possible scenarios.

This one time I was at the drive-through ATM machine on Blakemore and some guys in a gray van started following me home, like, I was positive of it, and all of my inner alarm bells started clanging DANGER, Southern Beale, DANGER! I’m not usually that paranoid but there had been a rash of incidents in the news where women were followed home from the ATM and robbed in their garages, so perhaps I was a little more aware than usual. But at no time did I think, “Gee I wish I had a gun so I could shoot at them.” What if I was wrong? What if they were just ordinary guys in a van? How do you know? So I drove straight to the nearest police department and pulled into the parking lot and guess who kept driving and I never saw them again. Maybe it was nothing, maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was someone thinking a young woman was an easy target they could follow home and rob. Who knows? Regardless, nobody ended up dead that day.

But if I had been Tony Torrez, things might have ended differently. I would have pulled out my gun and started indiscriminately firing, “as a warning” of course, and possibly shot and killed some innocent person because I had a bad feeling about some guys in a van.

A gun means people stop thinking beyond “I can shoot you.” What is supposed to be the last resort ends up being the first option. You know that old saying, when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail? It’s like that.

Torrez insisted the shots were intended only as a warning and that he had no idea there were kids in the truck. “I just pointed and shot, I didn’t even like, look,” Torrez said.

It was only afterwards that he began to consider the consequences of his actions. “I started thinking what if I shot somebody, I’m [in trouble] if somebody is hurt,” said Torrez. “And then the little girl ends up … dead, are you kidding me?”

Yeah, are you kidding? Like, of all the rotten luck, dude! Can you even?! Totally!

Seriously, a warning shot? Like in the movies? Are you really that dumb? Yes, he was that dumb. People are dumb. They’re too dumb to be trusted with guns. I wouldn’t mind if it was just their own foolish selves who suffered the consequences but too often its innocent bystanders, even children, who pay the price. This is wrong. This is not what the Founding Fathers intended, not even close.

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Congratulations, Phillip Rushing! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Remember Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s advice that Christians should get their concealed-carry permits? The faithful may want to rethink that advice after a California pastor was seriously wounded by his instructor in gun safety class. Roll that beautiful gunfail footage:

Tom Smith, a pastor at The House Modesto, was attending a course taught by Phillip Rushing at the Personal Protection Institute on Woodrow Avenue just west of McHenry Avenue when the incident occurred Dec. 5. The institute’s website notes that classes have been canceled until further notice.

During the course, Rushing was using a training gun, a rubber fake with no firing mechanism, said Heather Graves, Modesto Police Department spokeswoman. But as the class was ending, she said, he removed that prop from his holster and replaced it with his real handgun.

About that time, Graves said, a student asked Rushing to demonstrate what to do if attacked by someone armed with a knife. Smith volunteered to portray the attacker in a role-playing exercise.

“During the scenario, the instructor drew the firearm and it accidentally discharged,” she said. She did not know whether Rushing forgot he replaced the training gun or whether he knew he was drawing the real gun.

“When it fired and he realized what happened, he immediately dialed 911.”

The reporter asked another (competing) firearms instructor named Dan Gray to weigh in on the situation. What he had to say wasn’t encouraging:

“If you’re a firearms instructor long enough, you’re going to see accidents happen,” he said.

But having a real gun in a classroom “should never happen,” Gray said.

Whether Rushing thought he was drawing a rubber gun or a real one, he said, “unfortunately doesn’t matter. You never allow a real gun, loaded or otherwise, in a training environment when role playing. But he’s not the first and probably won’t be the last to have something like this happen.

I feel so much better, you guys.

This is actually a refrain we see a lot on gun boards. “Accidents happen,” the gun guys say, when they’re talking amongst themselves. If you have a concealed-carry permit, you’re going to have an accident, they say. If you’re at the shooting range, you’re going to have an accident at some point. If you’re an instructor, you’re going to see an accident. “Stuff happens,” and they all know it when they talk amongst themselves. But when they talk to the world at large? It’s “gun accidents are extremely rare.”

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Tennessee Gun Report

Your semi-regular round up of gun crazy. Enjoy.

• December 12, 2015:

An 11-year-old Estill Springs girl was shot in the back in the garage of a home. She died.

• December 11, 2015:

From Dyersburg, and yes, this is perfectly normal in Tennessee:

Employees told officers that a man had abandoned a silver Jeep at the gas pumps and left walking north on Lake Road with two dogs, and never returned.

Moments later the man and the two dogs were found on I-155 near the Lake Road interchange with a handgun in one hand and an ax in the other.

The subject, later identified as Mark Grooms, 26, of Union City, was ordered at gunpoint to drop the weapons.

He complied and was taken into custody.

It was found upon a search that Grooms was armed with a handgun and had a hatchet, a shotgun and rifle in a duffel bag, along with a large quantity of ammunition for all the weapons that were found to be loaded at the time of arrest.

Grooms was also in possession of two different types of illegal drugs and a large amount of cash.

At the time of arrest officers say Grooms appeared to be under the influence of some type of drug and was speaking incoherently about going to a church and “rallying with his people about getting someone.”

So, what happened to the dogs?

• December 10, 2015:

1- A Jackson man accidentally shot himself in the hand and lied to the police about it, telling them he was shot by an unknown assailant.

2- A Kingston gun shop is selling “Christian carry” pins:

KINGSTON, Tenn. (WVLT) — “There ought to be a way for Christians to kind of be able to give a nod to each other that they’re Christian and carry and that they’re not going to kneel down and allow someone to kill them,” said Brant Williams, Owner of Frontier Firearms.

I dunno, a secret handshake, maybe?

“I wear these pins as you notice saying I’m Christian and I carry weapons,” said Bobby Dodd who shoots at the range five days a week.

“I’m a Christian and I carry,” said Rob Snider who works at the shop and also wears the pins. “I’m proud of that fact.”

Okie dokie.

• A Cleveland, TN man killed his girlfriend, her five-year-old son, and the family dog. But that gun sure kept everyone safe, amiright, people?

• December 8, 2015:

Cabo was the mascot of a Nashville-area dog rescue. Until someone shot him at close range in the woods behind his house, that is. The community is heartbroken.

• December 4, 2015:

A dispatch from our armed/polite society out of Athens, Tennessee:

An argument among family members led to gunfire and an arrest recently.

At around 9 p.m. Tuesday, Athens Police Department Officer Jackie Holmes responded to a residence on Summit Street in reference to a father pointing a shotgun at his daughter.

[…]

After officers had him handcuffed, the man – identified as Michael R. Macigewski, 69, of Athens – reportedly explained that he had been arguing with his wife about someone “stealing one of his weapons.” He then allegedly said that he was threatened by his daughter, so he got his .22 caliber rifle from outside, brought it into the residence and “fired the weapon once into the floor of the residence.”

Holmes noted that she could smell a “slight” odor of alcohol on the man.

The officers then headed to the residence on Summit Street where they met with Macigewski’s wife and stepdaughter and heard their side of the story. They reportedly said that the husband and wife had been arguing and when Macigewski began yelling at his wife, the daughter stepped in between them. He then allegedly began shoving both of them around when his wife grabbed a knife and threatened him with it.

Macigewski then left the residence, came back in with his rifle and “shot a round into the floor, barely missing (the daughter’s) foot.”

Family values, y’all.

• November 30, 2015:

1- A Nashville 3-year-old accidentally shot himself in the arm with a loaded gun he found lying around in his parents’ bedroom. Super smart, you guys.

2- What is it about guns and Walmart? A CCW holder with a loaded handgun impersonated a Walmart manager in Murfreesboro, even ordering employees around. WTF?

“Not only was he presenting himself as a manager to other customers, but also giving orders to other employees before another manager asked him who are you and what are you doing here,” said Sgt. Evans.

The manager asked Jones to leave, but said he refused; So police were called and started asking questions.

They discovered that Jones had a loaded handgun with him. Jones never pulled the weapon and had a legal carry permit.

As for what witnesses said appeared to be his Walmart outfit? It wasn’t clear where Jones got it, but the style of clothing is legally available.

The story says Jones bonded out but police are still concerned about him. So glad he’s legally allowed to carry a loaded firearm everywhere. /sarcasm

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, Housekeeping, Tennessee

Stuff Happens

The Tennessee Firearms Assn. is making frownie faces over the Nashville fair board’s decision to suspend gun shows at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. Metro’s legal department ruled existing contracts must be honored, and the state’s Republican legislature, predictably, is all, “can they even DO that??”

Meanwhile, as all of this rages in Nashville, there was an accidental shooting at a gun show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix last weekend. And now we’re finding out more about what exactly happened. In an effort to reassure other public venues on his itinerary, producer Bob Templeton of Crossroads Of The West Gun Shows explains:

Templeton provided new details on the shooting. He said a licensed dealer zip tied the weapon he was going to sell before checking the chamber.

According to Templeton the dealer sold the weapon to a man who cut the zip tie before accidentally firing a round, hitting his friend. The man who was shot is expected to recover.

That “licensed dealer” has been banned from future events. So we’re good, right? Just one bad actor, nothing to see here, move along! Meanwhile:

Crossroads of the West Gun Shows has a long history of holding safe events, said Templeton. Inspectors check weapons coming into the building, making sure they are empty and zip tied. They also go around checking displays to make sure weapons are zip tied, he said.

Loaded guns are not allowed, and all participants are required to thread a zip tie through their guns to show the gun has been checked for ammo and to prevent it from firing.

So I’m just curious: with this nice list of safety measures which are routine parts of any Crossroads Of The West event, how did this one vendor somehow manage to zip-tie a loaded gun? You would think that this incident would reveal a gaping flaw in Templeton’s security protocol. But, no, that would require a gun show producer to admit something went wrong. Banning a dealer is so much easier than ramping up security, right?

This is my favorite part:

“It shouldn’t be of concern to the folks who come to the shows because it’s not like guns are going off at the shows on a regular basis,” he said. “We’re grateful the young man who was injured wasn’t more severely injured.”

Thoughts and prayers, don’t worry, this never happens you guys! Except, you know, that one time, and that other time, and that other time, and this time, and that time, and this other time, and don’t forget this one … etc.

I mean, stuff happens, right? Even at gun shows. Each time the vendor is banned and guess what, stuff keeps happening. So maybe the vendors aren’t the only problem.

Note: For a complete list of gun show accidents, check out David Waldman’s Pinterest board.

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Congratulations, Unidentified AL Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

A CCW holder — one of our safest, most responsible evah!! — went to the CVS Pharmacy in Franklin, Alabama with his loaded Glock safely (!) stowed in his pants pocket. Hilarity ensued:

When the man was walking up to the cash registers at the front of the store, he went to scratch his leg and accidentally pulled the trigger of his gun, Atwood said. The man told police he thought part of the pocket caught on the trigger, which caused it to fire, according to the police report.

The bullet shot through the man’s pants and into the carpet at the store, Atwood said. The bullet did not hit anyone and shattered on impact with the floor, he said.

“When this happened, he then made the weapon safe,” Atwood said.

The man immediately ejected the magazine from the gun and cocked the gun’s slide open so no more bullets could be fired, Atwood said. The gun was unloaded and on the front counter of the pharmacy when officers arrived, he said.

“He was so rattled by this that he had a hard time getting his license and concealed carry (permit), which he did have, out of his wallet,” Atwood said.

The man told officers he typically keeps his gun in a holster but didn’t use it Tuesday. He told officers he plans to take gun safety and shooting lessons soon, according to the police report.

Once again, innocent bystanders have “dodged a bullet,” so to speak. What a tremendous comfort that he plans to take a gun safety course “soon.” I’m just curious: what exactly is covered in Alabama’s concealed-carry permit courses? Is gun safety not covered?

I really do wish we had some strict, federal standards for these CCW courses, but of course with states like Kansas allowing concealed-carry without a permit, I guess there’s really no point.

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About That Terrorist Watch List

Guess what, everybody! The parents of the San Bernardino gunman have just been placed on the Federal terrorist watch list. Which means they can’t leave the country but they CAN buy guns!

So we have a (potential) terrorist trapped inside the U.S. and able to buy an AR-15. This makes sense, how?

I’m not agreeing with the Trump crowd, who want to ship the Muslims home (that’s what someone at his S.C. rally said, at least) and keep anyone else from coming here. I’m just pointing out an inconsistency in the argument.

Also, their argument always seems to go back to the idea that the terror watch list is flawed and that there’s no due process. I’m not challenging that notion at all, but I haven’t heard any Republicans (or Democrats, save far left Progressives) call for fixing it. Can we not add a due process element to the watch list? So citizens who find their names on the list in error can mount a challenge? Can we not improve the list or the way it’s compiled?

It all seems very phony to me. Republicans don’t want to infringe on the Second Amendment rights of people who may erroneously find their names on the list, but they sure as hell don’t mind barring those same people from travel. Isn’t that interesting?

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Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns, terrorism

That Time They Made A Star Wars Holiday Special

I somehow forgot that this was a real thing, but was recently reminded of it. The trailer is fake, but it features real clips from the TV special. Watch and weep.

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Documenting The Atrocities: Your Weekend Of Gun Lunacy

Dispatches from our well-regulated militia this past weekend. Second Amendment Heroes, all:

• Someone accidentally shot his friend at the gun show at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix.

• There were numerous hunting accidents: in Iowa, Arkansas and central New York.

• In Pennsylvania, a hunter’s bullet went through a child’s bedroom window and lodged in a wall. Stuff happens!

• A Minnesota man was reaching for his rifle when it slipped and he shot himself in the stomach.

• A CCW-holding “good guy” with a gun was defending his shop from an armed robber, and he accidentally shot an innocent bystander waiting at the bus stop.

• A 3-year-old California child “gained access to the family gun” and shot his older brother. Dad is a CHP officer.

• Some kids in Dayton, Ohio found a loaded rifle in a shed. One was accidentally shot in the leg with it.

• In New Orleans, a 4-year-old accidentally shot himself in the neck at his grandparents’ house.

• In the Denver suburb of Englewood, a teenager hanging out with some friends was accidentally shot. He died.

• In Toledo, Ohio, a dog knocked a gun off a table, accidentally shooting a pizza delivery man who happened to be delivering a pizza at the time.

• Funny story: in Michigan, one of our safest, most responsible citizens evah ended up being batshit insane. I know, right? He took his legally-concealed gun to a kid’s soccer game and shot a mom and her 7-year-old daughter. The child died.

• Also in Michigan, a 20-year-old man was drinking with his buddies and showing off his new gun. Somehow he ended up accidentally shooting himself in the head. He died.

• In Florida, a 17-year-old was accidentally shot to death by one of his friends when the kids were playing with a gun in his room.

• In Tucson, Arizona, an armed citizen shot and killed a shoplifting suspect in a parking lot. Shoplifting now gets the death penalty, apparently.

• In Conyers, Georgia, a 5-month-old was shot in the arm by accident when the infant’s 18-year-old mother grabbed a shotgun after hearing a noise outside.

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