MaKayla’s Law was the sole piece of legislation in last week’s NRA-ILA Action Alert (the ILA is the “institute of legislative action” branch of the NRA – they do all of the lobbying, make all the large campaign donations, and orchestrate the “primary-ing” of any lawmaker who dares to not vote with them.)
MaKayla’s Law will be up for a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Tuesday at 3:30. The NRA sent out this action alert to its Tennessee members yesterday. They never refer to the bill as MaKayla’s Law because that would mean acknowledging the very type of preventable tragedy this bill seeks to address.
It’s important to note that the ONLY rights that would be affected by MaKayla’s Law are the rights of IRRESPONSIBLE gun owners to leave loaded, unsecured guns accessible to children under 13. And even then, they would ONLY face charges IF the child injures or kills themselves or another person.
Responsible gun owners who store guns properly – locked up when not in use as the NRA instructs on their website – would NEVER be impacted by MaKayla’s Law. Responsible gun owners also support the bill. Gun sellers, gun range instructors, gun safety trainers, the Tennessee chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and citizens all support the bill. They agree with us that when it comes to Tennessee kids and accessible guns, TEN 100% preventable deaths and FOURTEEN 100% preventable injuries in 2015 is shocking. Being 9th in the country for accidental shootings is appalling. And something must be done.
District Attorneys have spoken in favor of the bill as well, noting the difficulty in prosecuting reckless endangerment cases, the lack of legal guidance when it comes to filing charges in these cases, and the inconsistency of when or if charges are filed. In the initial hearing, District Attorney Ray Whitley testified that “this would be a good bill to pass.”
Yesterday, committee members received hundreds of form emails generated from this NRA action alert. The emails stated that simply telling kids to “stop, don’t touch, run and tell an adult” is all that’s required to prevent a child from tragically discharging a bullet at close range into their own body or into the body of their friend or sibling.
Because toddlers and young children can always be trusted to listen and follow instructions?
Because tweens who have been instructed not to touch a gun and know better will never make a bad choice or succumb to peer pressure?
Because we shouldn’t believe the behavioral psychologists whose research demonstrates that merely telling kids not to touch a gun is in NO WAY a guarantee that they won’t?
That approach (doing absolutely nothing to address the issue) is why two Tennessee kids have already died this year when they encountered a loaded gun in their families cars. It’s why a recent Johns Hopkins School of Public Health study flagged Tennessee as one of seven states with a disproportionate number of accidental shootings – and no safe storage firearms laws.
What’s more important? Protecting the rights of irresponsible gun owners or protecting kids?
Support #MaKaylasLaw. Please take a moment to contact the members of the committee to ask them to vote for MaKayla’s Law, SB 2294.
Sen. Brian Kelsey 615-741-3036
Sen. Doug Overbey 615-741-0981
Sen. Janice Bowling 615-741-6694
Sen. Mike Bell 615-741-1946
Sen. Todd Gardenhire 615-741-6682
Sen. Lee Harris 615-741-1767
Sen. Sara Kyle 615-741-4167
Sen. Kerry Roberts 615-741-4499
Sen John Stevens 615-741-4576