Traditionally, the day after Labor Day represents the first day back to work after the holiday weekend, and an unofficial end to Summer vacations. But this year, that may be different for many members of the trucking industry.
Just as the rest of America will be returning to work on Tuesday, September 5, including members of Congress — who return from summer recess and formally go back into session that day — over-the-road commercial truckers who have joined and support the Trucker Lives Matter (TLM) movement, which is sponsored by the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), a 501(c)(6) industry trade group, are planning to take that day off and drive instead to Washington, D.C. There they will publicize the need for them to be able to carry firearms nationwide to protect themselves while living and working on the road.
Dubbed by TLM as a "Day Without a Trucker " — an obvious pun on today’s "Day Without a Woman" celebration, the event is being billed by TLM leaders as a "memorial procession" to honor and remember the 500 workers in interstate transportation slain over the past decade, a statistic cited by the U.S. Department of Labor, drivers like over-the-road, commercial trucker Michael Boeglin, who was shot dead and burned in his truck in Detroit in June 2014, an incident that sparked the beginnings of the TLM movement.
"We are today establishing a planning committee and will seek the assistance of law enforcement so that the memorial procession, which will have a religious component to it in furtherance of truckers' First Amendment rights, does not unreasonably impede traffic, create havoc for people trying to enter or exit the interstate, or encourage tailgating. We would encourage residents of Washington, D.C., to consider taking public rail transportation to get to work on September 5 as we do not know how many truckers will respond to the call to join our national memorial procession," SBTC President and TLM Spokesman James Lamb said today.
TLM said its poll conducted over the past few days shows “overwhelming support” for the event and suggests that hundreds of truckers are already planning on making the trip to Washington, D.C. More than 80 percent of 850 trucker respondents have indicated they would likely attend.
Currently, the patchwork of state laws and lack of nationwide reciprocity for firearms permits puts truckers in precarious if not dangerous life threatening-situations, TLM believes.
Lamb has sent requested legislation to Sen. Marco Rubio's office, R-Fla., since SBTC is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to this SBTC document, which was also sent to all members of Congress on Monday, Rubio's staff members are currently drafting a bill for introduction into the Senate and have asked SBTC to help them find a sponsor for a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
With respect to interstate travel among the states, the bill seeks to endorse the Second Amendment as a matter of "Constitutional Carry" for all Americans and pre-empt the states from regulating firearms carried into, out of, or through their states. Lamb said more than 6,000 members of his group have petitioned the NRA to support his bill but the NRA-ILA remains silent to date.
Today's announcement comes on the heels of the latest murder of a Houston-based trucker named Wilmer Erazo, who was found shot to death in a truck yard earlier this week. Sadly, Erazo, the latest victim of gun violence directed against truckers, leaves behind three children.
As part of its ongoing efforts, TLM has scheduled a dial-in press conference to discuss the event at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, March 24 to coincide with the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference call number is (712) 775-7031 and the access code is 495-071-244.
Truckers and other interested parties can connect with TLM on Facebook or through the group's website, http://www.TruckerLivesMatter.com.
SBTC said in a news release that it is “a network of transportation professionals, associations, and industry suppliers that is on the front lines when it comes to issues that affect transportation professionals in small business. We seek to promote and protect the interests of small businesses in the transportation industry. We support teamwork, cooperation, transparency, and partnerships among truckers, carriers, brokers, and shippers and seek to promote ethical business practices and do business with the utmost integrity.”