Commission seeks gun laws support
Jan 23, 2013 | 1403 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Banner Staff Writer

The Bradley County Commission is asking area state legislators to support current gun laws and uphold the Second Amendment.

A resolution stating the Commission’s position was passed during Monday’s work session.

The document is meant to serve as a message to state and federal legislators expressing county government’s desire for them “... to support any legislation that preserves the gun ownership and carry rights of the citizens of Bradley County, the State of Tennessee, and the United States.”

When introducing the resolution, 4th District Commissioner J. Adam Lowe said the document served as a way to make the community’s voice heard.

“It’s our petition for support for representation on an issue, which in many ways tends to be enforced at a county level,” Lowe said.

Lowe said education is an important aspect of gun safety.

“As knowledge and familiarity increases fear dissipates,” Lowe said. “Those familiar with firearms and firearms safety know that there is nothing to fear ... consistent training with your firearms breeds safety.”

Third District Commission Jeff Morelock said he supported the Second Amendment and a citizen’s right to own weapons. However, the commissioner said he would not be voting for the motion.

“I just think we’ve gone crazy in this country about guns. ... This is an area in which this County Commission has no authority,” Morelock said.

Morleock passed during the vote on the resolution. The other 13 commissioners present voted in favor.

The County Commission does not have the authority to pass gun legislation of its own.

Pending legislation and current discussions about trained permit holders bringing guns to school was also discussed.

“I have people coming to me continually saying, ‘Please make sure every teacher does not have to carry a gun to school,” 7th District Commissioner Bill Winters said.

He emphasized that legislation pending in Tennessee is not suggesting this.

“We’re not supporting that every teacher carry a gun. Let’s make that clear,” Winters said.

The commissioner emphasized training would be required before permission is given.

First District Commissioner Terry Caywood had also heard concerns from teachers who want to focus on teaching, not being a law enforcement officer. Caywood said he has taught gun safety courses for years, and is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment

School safety was not addressed in the actual resolution passed by the Commission.

Legislation pending in the Tennessee House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Eric Watson would address this.

“In Southeast Tennessee, we have a strong sense of responsibility that is the greatest safeguard (defense) against violence in our schools,” Watson said in a press release. “Schools choosing to adopt the policy will have the option to hire security or appoint highly trained staff, with training which is similar to a school resource officer which will be an additional safeguard (safety measure/defense) in protecting students.”

Watson said SROs are also an important element of school safety.

Also during the meeting:

- Members for the tax deferment study committee and the county’s representatives to the SR 60 corridor were made official Monday. Commission chairman Louie Alford, the Bradley County planner and 3rd district Commissioner Jeff Morelock will serve on the corridor committee. Tax deferment committee members will be Louie Alford, Ed Elkins, Adam Lowe, Bill Winters, Property Assessor Stanley Thompson, County Attorney Crystal Freiberg and ORBA President Lake Mantooth,

- Also during the meeting, the Commission officially approved leaving a railroad crossing on Old Weatherly Switch Road and a portion of Old Lower River Road open. Both had formerly been considered for closure.