More from TN mayors on gun policy

Today we ran a piece looking at what mayors of the city’s Big 4 cities had to say on the issue of gun control.

Here’s what we couldn’t get in the paper.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero

She and police chief David Rausch have had an ongoing talk on gun control, and Rausch takes the position of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Some include:

  • prohibit the sale or transfer of armor piercing ammunition
  • the assault weapons ban
  • prohibit the mail order sale of bulletproof vests and body armor to all individuals except sworn or certified law enforcement officers
  • (against) obtain weapons at events such as gun shows without undergoing a background check

… you can read the rest in the PDF.

Rogero, though she doesn’t intend to carry a concealed weapon, said she did take a concealed carry permitting class, “so I can better understand the process and training and permitting that goes on.” She doesn’t have a permit, either, she said, but she did say that there is a firearm in her household.

“I grew up around guns,” she said. “My dad was a hunter. We had shotguns, rifles and handguns, pistols.”

They were a part of a family event.

“All my uncles, my cousins, were hunters, so we would go out with them. We were too young to hunt at the time,” Rogero said. “With them, it was family time to go out with them there. I do very much respect the rights of gun owners for recreation and for protection as allowed by law.”

Owing to her roots in government, she’s studying the issue at length. She’s gotten phone calls, emails and other papers to review and respond to, Rogero said.

“I’m going to continue to inform myself and further develop my opinion as various pieces of legislation come out,” she said.

She said that mental health is an issue that needs attention as well.

“… how much mental health information is put into the national database? After Virginia Tech, after those mass shootings, they started putting (mental health) information on the  database, and according to the report I saw, that’s had an impact … they have seen fewer shootings … that’s a debate … a debate right now … and privacy matters, the privacy of an individual versus keeping a community safe. That’s an important  debate right now.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean’s statement:

All of us dread turning on the news and hearing of another massacre, especially involving children and young people. It happens way too often, and there seems to be widespread agreement that as a society we need to find ways to stop this violence in our communities. We should look for common-sense, practical solutions to keep guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm others. Courts have repeatedly held that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to own guns. I support that right. But just as Justice Antonin Scalia, arguably one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court, has said, “The right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It is clear that state law pre-empts any Metro action with regard to the regulation of guns. Hopefully, as this issue is debated on the national level, consensus will be found to close loopholes that allow dangerous individuals to obtain weapons and attention will be given to mental health programs and laws. The reality is that attitudes toward guns vary greatly in different parts of the United States. Finding agreement on issues such as the proliferation of rapid-fire ammunition clips will be difficult but is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. The bottom line is that this is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is about keeping our cities safe. I’ve heard a wide variety of opinions from people throughout our city, and I would encourage them to reach out to lawmakers at the state capitol and in Washington. We must strive to find common ground and do so swiftly.

Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield

He sees usefulness to a gun registry database:

If someone in my neighborhood or next door is piling up material that looks like they’re planning to go to war, I would like for it to raise a red  flag somewhere. That’s the logic parallel, someone needs to know about that.

On when he was growing up, and a database:

I grew up in a time when if you had a single shot .22 or a double barrell shotgun, that was about it. And you didn’t see guns in the schools. guns have always been around, but you don’t have gun worship that you seem to have these days.

Background checks, particularly now that background checks can be done  very  quickly, almost like checking your credit card balance, it’s something that can be done at gun shows. I don’t know, I don’t frequent gun shows, but there’s no reason for people not to be  doing  background checks.

Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton

Responsible gun ownership and current legislation are key, he said.

“I’m in agreement with the NRA in terms fo making more effective use of the existing laws,” he said.

That said, universal checks, even at gun shows, shouldn’t be that difficult to implement.

“One should not wait an inordinate amount of time,” he said. “I know that I can go to the barbershop, and the barber can take out his cell phone and pull money out of my account with a little thing on his cell phone.”

And he’s not against medical professionals being able to release mental health records as a part of background check information, “that might bear on one’s fitness to purchase or own a firearm.”

Stealing a gun should have a penalty of 20 to 30 years, he said.

“If, perchance, a merchant has a gun on his or her business premises and happens to walk outside (with the firearm), that’s different than a gangbanger walking up and down the street,” he said. “My focus, and I keep saying, my laser focus is on those individuals who are using guns, stealing guns and to those who are violating another law.”

Then he spoke to federal issues, citing his work as an attorney.

“As a defense lawyer, I argued many cases … that federal government was overstepping its boundary and beginning to prosecute what were local crimes,” Wharton said. “I don’t think that, quite frankly, that we can pass any set of federal laws or adopt any federal policies that get at the core of what we have here. This problem is going to be solved in the streets and the byways of our cities.”

He said he’s not trying to take guns from law-abiding citizens.

“The local citizens know that they can vote me out of office …. they area afraid of this distant government, over which they have no  control. The lead  on this has to be taken by local government, backed up by the federal government.”


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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