Threatening a poor gun-rights grade for politicians who don’t toe the line, the National Rifle Association is demanding that Tennessee legislators force a vote on a bill that would block employers from banning firearms in company parking lots, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The NRA said the failure of state House and Senate Republican leaders to bring the issue to the legislative floor is a “perversion of the representative democracy.” In a letter distributed to all 99 House members Thursday, the politically powerful gun-rights group said it will grade lawmakers on whether they get behind the efforts to bring the bill to the legislative floor.
The effort appears to be an attempt to get the House to suspend its rules, bypass its Calendar and Rules Committee and bring the bills directly to the floor if necessary. It takes 66 votes, or two-thirds of the House membership, to suspend rules. But the proposal pins Republicans between two of their most powerful constituencies — the NRA and business groups — which are at each others' throats over the legislation. Business groups and individual companies, including Volkswagen in Chattanooga and Memphis-based FedEx, charge that the two bills violate their property rights and pose safety threats. The NRA and other advocates say the “Safe Commute Act” will ensure gun owners' safety to and from work. One bill strips businesses, schools and colleges of the right to ban weapons, while the other bars employers from discriminating against workers who bring guns.