Just ask the NRA.
The passage of the homophobic law in Tennessee is deeply offensive — and it’s setting a dangerous precedent for local LGBT equality laws.
For several years back in the 90s, I worked as the Director of State Legislation at an organization called Handgun Control. (It’s now the Brady Campaign.) Support for gun control laws was always strongest in cities and suburbans areas. A lot of state legislatures were dominated by rural types. Back in the late 80s, to counter a growing number of local gun control ordinances, the NRA crafted a preemption strategy. And, it worked for them. From the NRA website (and I can’t believe I’m even linking to it, but I couldn’t find anything on the Brady website about the issue, which says a lot about the state of that movement):
To prevent the problems associated with restrictive local ordinances, 46 states have enacted “firearm preemption laws”–laws that prevent local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances more restrictive than laws passed by the state legislature and, in some cases, rescind local ordinances to ensure uniform firearm laws statewide.
The NRA works with gun owners and lawmakers to enact preemption laws in the few states that still permit local ordinances more restrictive than state law. To ensure uniform firearm laws throughout your state and to guarantee equal rights for all, support statewide firearms preemption.
See, they just wanted to have uniform laws. Just like businesses in Tennessee, Nissan, FedEx, AT&T;, Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, Alcoa, and United HealthCare, claim they just want “consistent” laws across the state. That’s how it started with the gun laws, too. The NRA also preempted city lawsuits aimed at the gun industry in many states, too.
The homophobes know that the trendline for equality is moving in our direction. They’re concentrating their resources where they have power — and there are lots of homophobes in state legislatures around the country. And, in Tennessee at least, they were able to hoodwink businesses into supporting their anti-gay agenda.
That’s why we need to speak out and prevent any business leaders from joining on to these hate-based efforts.
And, don’t forget, the right-wingers are all in cahoots with each other. David Keene, who ran the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is now the President of the NRA.