One of the worst reasons to amend a Constitutional right is because some people have been abusing theirs. Tennessee lawmakers have decided that Tennesseans can carry firearms into bars and restaurants.
Soon, Tennessee's bars and restaurants will no longer be off-limits for registered weapons.Before the whinging about "the new wild west" begins, I point out that Nashville is not Deadwood, no matter how many cowboy hats get worn or Shakespearean profanations are proclaimed. I am a firm believer in the right to own a gun. Whatever weaseling is done around the Second Amendment.
State legislators - a quarter of whom own firearms - have passed a law allowing guns into bars and restaurants, but preventing their owners from buying alcohol.
For the bill's Democratic sponsor - State Senator Doug Jackson - it is a case of preserving the rights of individuals and those of individual states.
"People are fearful about tomorrow. They feel insecure. And the Second Amendment right is something that they cherish and it's a means of protecting themselves and their family and defending what they have. It provides security in troubled times."
Which reads, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." There are those who think that the Second Amendment is as relevent as the Third -- the one about quartering soldiers -- but the Third says that you can't, and the Second says that you can't be infringed. Simply a more positive direction. Our forefathers knew about the power of words.
Although, as a historian, I am duty-bound to remonstrate such facile readings of our nation's most important document.
As regular readers of this Journal know, I am also an advocate of the right to peaceably assemble at the neighborhood tavern. And I am a staunch advocate of civility -- the common courtesy -- and expect that all of my fellow citizens are also of like mind when it comes to the niceties of community principles and mores.
I recently lunched with shipmates at a local harborside bistro that serves alcohol and fine provisions to its well-mannered clientele. My friends were taking advantage of their rare day off together in order to head to the club for some couple's target practice.
Now, since I am not a gunman, it would have done no good to start conferring over "sights" and "heft" and "calibers" or whatever else it is that you gun owners discuss over lunch, so we were limited to knocking around tales of house-hunting and the weather and how each one of us looked terrific and how marriage was especially treating them awfully well, it appeared.
But, wouldn't it have been a more lively diversion if they could have been allowed to present their arms right there on the restaurant table, even playfully pantomiming the action of picking off a few of the nearby seabirds, or explaining to me some of the finer points of gunningship? Would I not be more inclined to, on my way back to the estate, stop by my local pistol shack and arm up? Between a delicious appetizer and the fresh catch-of-the-day entree, I do believe that I could easily have been convinced of the various joys of shooting bangbang sticks.
And others, perhaps after a few Dark'n'Stormies, might join our armory chat, noting comparisons and offering suggestions as fellow diners and scrutinizing nearby hobbyists always do as when piqued by tales of unscrupulous fiberglassers and canvas rips. Just as gun-making and ammunition-selling would stimulate the economy, this new divertisment would stimulate the friendliness and eager comradeship my gracious and refined fellow Commonwealthers are anxious to exhibit.
Think on it, Massachusetts lawmakers.
Think on it well!