letters to the editor

In Town buildings, allow handgun permit-holders to exercise their rights

The Farragut Gun Club’s position [along with other similar community groups as recently collected and summarized by its memberships] per the Town of Farragut’s proposed change in a weapons policy for its public buildings, including Town Hall, is straightforward:

The Town of Farragut should either a) install metal/sensor detectors with full-time screeners at all of it entrances, invest in other security measures for its departments and offices and provide full-time outdoor security patrols for the public parking lots, or b) just allow the law-abiding handgun permit-holders to exercise their rights in protecting their life and the lives of other family members when visiting the Town of Farragut offices.

Although Tennessee allows either “open or concealed carry” for handgun permit-holders within the state, the Farragut Gun Club [and similar community groups] would support and accept “Lawful Concealed Carry Only” or similar wording at the Town of Farragut’s Town Hall.

 Handgun permit-holders are one of the largest vetted groups in Tennessee along with law enforcement/security professionals, teachers/child care staff and medical professionals.  Handgun permit-holders are “law abiding,” whereas criminals target their prey such as the elderly, disabled and mothers and/or their children at will in “gun-free zones.” Likewise, those with current threats against them, such as those individuals holding restraining orders against stalkers/abusers, military/security personnel [as evident in the recent Chattanooga terrorism attack], medical, legal and business professionals in disputes or those who “display” high wealth, CANNOT meagerly transfer their or their family’s safety to just a symbolic sign stating a “gun-free zone” that has no enforcement backing behind the screen printing it is made of.

One of the best benchmarks for the Town of Farragut is its neighbor, Loudon County. One of the first things Loudon County Mayor Buddy Bradshaw did a few years ago upon his election was to remove the “no guns” signs in the county building.  Mayor Bradshaw, a former law enforcement officer, spoke at a past Farragut Gun Club meeting and told our membership that “gun-free zones” invite only trouble and directly harm law-abiding handgun permit-holders, the “good guys.”  No one logically can argue against his judgment and experience.

Again, the position of the Farragut Gun Club [and other like-minded community groups] is for the elected representation [BOMA] to act responsibly either by making the proper investments to guarantee the public’s safety upon their property and buildings/Town Hall or just to let the already vetted and law-abiding handgun permit holders legally do what they “probably have been doing already” since 1994. By granting “Lawful Concealed Carry Only” not only saves the Town of Farragut a considerable amount of investment and is the right thing to do, but it also tells the criminals to go somewhere else.

On a personal note speaking for myself and NOT the Farragut Gun Club, I have been involved in Second Amendment [2A] advocacy since 1988 in the State of Tennessee and led efforts to bring to fruition “shall issue” Tennessee Handgun Permits in 1994 while pursuing a law enforcement career in college.  I have also been involved in the expansion of these rights over the past 23 years in the state and the one thing that anti-2A opponents have always cried, warned and threatened is that there will be “bloodshed flowing in the streets” or some other non-factual but malicious FUD [fear, uncertainty and doubt] statements if a “new” pro-2A law is passed.  I can tell you that it has never happened with any of these expansions of personal/family safety laws in Tennessee [or the USA] and never will.

I can also inform the readership as a consultant who has a “security/law enforcement/emergency preparedness” practice among others, I can tell you based on my direct research, first-hand experiences and analysis that “gun-free zones” are one of the most dangerous and ill-conceived “newspeak” creations ever implemented by naïve bureaucrats who believe “magic fairy dust barriers” can actually protect lives.  These zones only hurt law-abiding citizens as “bad guys” disregard them or literally cannot read the posted signage [seriously]. 

“Gun-free zones” are nothing more than “potential future mass killing zones” and serve as a beacon for evildoers and mass murderers during their target selection and planning as evident in post interviews/investigations with these mass murderers by criminologists. Security professionals often say “gun-free zones” must have the “bite to go along with the bark;” if they do not, they are just merely suggestions.  Unfortunately, I have only seen very few “gun-free zones” in my life that can actually live up 100 percent  to that designation and those that can, have always had a full-time group of security professionals and/or “warriors” proactively and aggressively backing up such a directive. 

With this all being said, I, the Farragut Gun Club, and other like-minded community organizations encourage the rest of BOMA to work with Alderman Bob Markli on this very important personal, family and community safety matter in passing “Lawful Concealed Carry Only” for the Town of Farragut in order to legalize what more than likely [we are just guessing] is already happening by handgun permit holders on a regular daily/weekly occurrence.  Without proper investment in professional security enforcement, the current Town of Farragut’s “no weapons” signs are worthless in protecting priceless lives.

Bill Johns

Founder, Farragut Gun Club