County Commission Meeting - To Ban Carry in County Buildings


September 5, 2008, 10:05 PM
Today I got an email from NRA-ILA about a Williamson County Commission meeting Monday evening where a proposed Resolution 9-08-31 will seek to outlaw carry into county-owned buildings. The email urged me to attend the meeting in opposition to the Resolution. I certainly will, and plan on calling both my commissioners Monday morning before attending the meeting, as well.

My question - I've never been involved in local politics before, so I don't know what to expect at the meeting. Aside from being present, what opportunities can I expect to demonstrate my opposition to this Resolution? Might I have an opportunity to address the Commission, or will I just have to frown really hard when the Resolution is addressed? How does this work? Please forgive my ignorance.

I want to be prepared to make as much of an impact as I can, as I really believe that any infringement of 2A rights - such as this one - must be combated at every opportunity, and I want to make sure I'm as effective as I can be.

Thanks everybody.

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Duke Junior
September 5, 2008, 11:35 PM
Well,el,if its like most County/City Council meetings you're going to be able to get up to the mike and say your piece.
Just be prepared.You got lots of ammo.
Atlanta Courthouse,Trolley Square,NIU,VT,Luby's Cafeteria,McDonalds in San Diego,well the list of unarmed citizens killed in GFVZ's is endless.
And remember for research,Google will always be your friend.
Let's us know if you need any assistance.

September 6, 2008, 12:10 PM
I don't know if my county board is typical but here the process is like this:

1. There will be a published agenda. In most states these have to be publish well in advance of the meeting. You should be able to find this on the counties web site. But you need to show up early and don't count on the times in the agenda.

2. The public is generally allowed to speak.

3. There is generally a period where the board can be addressed on any topic even those not on the agenda.

4. The board should allow for comments before voting on any agenda item.

5. You will likely need to fill out a short form to request to speak and on the form you will likely need to state if this is for a specific agenda item or if you want to speak during the general comments period. They will call your name when it is your turn. These are generally done in FIFO order.

6. You will likely be limited to only a few minutes (here is is 3 minutes but it could be more in other places). So don't ramble on, In some cases if you represent some community group and you can request they can grant you more time to speak.

7. You can also give the board additional writen comments. They may not read these but they generally will not refuse to accept them from you.

September 8, 2008, 01:11 PM
Alright guys, I called the County Clerk's office and was given instructions on how to get on the docket for the meeting, so I'll definitely have an opportunity to speak tonight. Here is the small speech I've worked up and am currently memorizing:

My name is Kevin Pratt. I am a Certified Internal Auditor by profession. Before I moved to Tennessee, I lived in Fort Worth, Texas. I was a member of Wedgwood Baptist Church there – many of you have never heard of Wedgwood, and those of you who have have probably forgotten what happened there, but I haven’t forgotten yet.

On September 15, 1999, a man named Larry Gene Ashbrook walked into Wedgwood during a youth rally on a Wednesday evening. He shot 14 people, 7 of whom died, before he killed himself. I was there that night – I was 15 years old when I first learned that criminals have no regard for places that are supposed to be “safe.” The word “sanctuary” literally means “safe place” – that didn’t stop him, and a posted sign instructing him to leave his guns in the car wouldn’t have stopped him, either.

Laws like this one – Resolution 9-08-31 – are Security Theater – they make people feel safe but do nothing to actually MAKE them safe. In fact, this is the worst kind of Security Theater, for it takes away from the law-abiding citizen their only means to actually defend themselves from violence.

I plead with each member of the Commission that you not allow this measure, or any like it, to pass in Williamson County, for to do so would place in danger only the law-abiding constituents that you have sworn to serve, who are committed to obeying the law, even to their own peril.

In closing, please allow me to quote Thomas Jefferson –

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one.”

Thank you for your time.

Duke Junior
September 8, 2008, 01:38 PM
Well done,Very powerful.Your first hand horrific experience speaks volumes.
IMO,your speech should have a profound effect on the members at the meeting.Please let us know us the results.
My condolences on your losses and the after affects this crime had on your and your community's lives.You've been very strong to bounce back from this nightmare.
Stay safe.

September 8, 2008, 01:41 PM
Add a paragraph about how banning HCP holders from carrying in county owned facilities reaches beyond the room you're in.

Such a prohibition will force the voting public who have HCPs to leave their weapons in their cars instead of safely under their control on their persons. Since you're compelled to do business with the county in their facilities and can't choose to do business somewhere else like you could if a private business posted, you want to know if they can guarantee that there never has been nor ever will be a break-in in the parking lots and garages for county buildings so you'll know it is safe to leave your gun in their care in the garage while you attend such meetings. Will they take responsibility for what happens to you between home and the county facilities if such a prohibition is put in place. Or would they acknowledge that Tennesseans who have paid the fees, taken the state mandated classes and had their backgrounds probed deeper than the council members before you aren't the people they need to be afraid of carrying firearms in the building like many of you are tonight.

September 8, 2008, 03:59 PM
Thanks for the input, and for the kind words. I do hope that I can make a difference this evening.

hso - I appreciate your suggestion, and would certainly like to add any number of facts, arguments, and statistics to my statement... unfortunately, in the interest of needing to be brief and succinct, I can't say everything that I want to say, and I don't want to lose the attention of the commission by overwhelming them with too many arguments. I hope that I won't be the only member of the NRA present at this meeting, and I hope that others will provide some of the facts and very persuasive arguments that I won't have time for, such as you have suggested.

Essentially, I believe that I have a relatively unique story to tell, and one that has always, since it happened 9 years ago, immediately captured the attention of anyone I've shared it with. People listen when you tell them you were almost murdered as a child in a church - it can evoke strong emotional reactions. Given that emotions are usually the weapon of our opposition, I want to turn that weapon around on them - I want to take this opportunity to draw out the emotion, then connect it with rational actions that need to be taken accordingly (instead of the irrational tendency towards gun control). I hope that, by being brief and direct, I can sway not just the minds of the council, but their heart, too.

I do hope that others who feel the same way will be present to reinforce my argument, but if not, I need to make as strong a case as I can, so I want to keep it just to this one strong admonishion.

Thanks again everybody.

September 8, 2008, 09:46 PM
:DGood news everybody - the measure was apparrently SO unpopular, that it was pulled from the agenda before the meeting even began. I arrived at 630, wanting to get my name on the list of "Citizens Communications," which I did - I was second up, following a Representative from the Tennessee Firearms Association.

Before the Citizens Communications section began, though, the Chair of the Commission informed us that the resolution had been pulled with no intention of returning in any future sessions, so we could still speak, but didn't need to.

Of the 8 who signed up to speak, 7 of us were there to oppose this particular measure - and we all spoke anyway. I shared my story, hoping to impress on the Commission how strongly I felt about this issue, and how rediculous measures like this really are. I believe it was very well received, as were the other comments, including one that, since Tennessee began issuing permits in 1994, not one conviction has ever been carried out on a HCP holder for a firearms offense (didn't know that!).

So the good news is that Williamson County is free of this rediculous restriction, and I believe we convinced the Commission that it never needs to come back, as we will be watching and waiting if it ever does.

Even so, if anyone reading is in District 5, you may want to consider whether or not you want to vote to re-elect Lewis Green, as this was his bright idea. Anyone who would propose this sort of measure needs to go. If I could vote against him, you had better believe I would, but I'm District 12. I know this is a bit political, mods - please forgive me. I know nothing of the man and have nothing against him personally, but I want members to be aware of what he stands for when they vote, if this applies to anyone here.

Anyway, thanks again for all your support. This is how we win - one battle at a time, and my hope has been restored that not all is lost yet :)

September 8, 2008, 09:50 PM
From a neighbor to the southeast, thanks for putting forth the effort to oppose this.

Now, let's see about getting Naifeh out of that speaker seat. I'm tired of disarming when I want to eat at my favorite BBQ joint.

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