Press Releases

TFA: Maggart Lying About Record of Gun-Rights Support

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; August 1, 2012: 

Debra Maggart’s “right” to be re-election in serious doubt

A few weeks ago, Debra Maggart told the Tennessean (that story appears to be off line now but is referenced on other news sites) that Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers was not a “legitimate challenger”. Regardless of the outcome on Thursday, Maggart cannot make that claim now as she has been attacked by practically every grassroots organization interested in the 2nd Amendment in the last 2 months – viciously. All of this citizen based grassroots support is solidly aligned behind and working to for Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers.

It appears Maggart did not in truth take the Rogers race seriously until perhaps mid July. At that point, it appears Maggart has made an all out effort to defend her seat on one lie. Maggart is running an ad campaign that claims Rogers inappropriate answered “none” on a candidate disclosure form which asked if she had been “discharged” from bankruptcy in the preceding 5 years. Rogers answered truthful because her business related bankruptcy was almost 7 years prior at the time. 7 is more than 5 to most “fifth graders” but not to Debra Maggart.

This past week, another national organization has joined the effort to elect Lt. Col. Rogers and defeat Debra Maggart. That organization is NAGR, the National Association of Gun Rights. It joins the ranks of TFA, NRA, and others all of which expertly and credibly note that Maggart has worked to impair 2nd Amendment rights in Tennessee.

Debra Maggart’s claims that she has been good in 2011 and 2012 on the 2nd Amendment are no more credible that her other advertising – lies, all lies.

Republican leaders like Debra Maggart and Gerald McCormick have been claiming that their number one job is to re-elect incumbents – nothing more than a heightened partisan role. In a news report dated June 1, 2012, their “partisan first” and “incumbent first” mentalities are highlighted:

Tennessee Republicans are looking to tighten their grip on state government in the Nov. 6 general election by winning an even larger legislative majority than they’ve enjoyed the last two years.

But party leaders, particularly in the House, say a first priority is to ensure that members of their caucus survive challenges in the Aug. 2 primary.

House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick and Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart both say incumbents winning primaries is a prime concern. In McCormick’s words, incumbents deserve to be “rewarded on election day” for responsibly governing since they began dominating state politics two years ago.

* * *

Maggart sees it as her unwavering responsibility to ensure sitting lawmakers get their jobs back next year. And she faces her own tough re-election challenge against Courtney Rogers of Goodlettsville, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel.

Supporting a candidate can mean everything from political donations from individual lawmakers or the well-funded House GOP Caucus, appearances from high-ranking lawmakers such as Speaker Beth Harwell and even coming out to knock on doors or work political fundraisers.

“My job is to bring the incumbents back,” Maggart told TNReport. “That’s our job — my job — as the caucus leader.”

Debra Maggart claims that they are entitled to be “Republican” re-elected. That they are entitled to be rewarded as “Republican” incumbents. Maggart claims its her “job” to bring them back.

The big question is whether this allegedly “illegitimate” challenge from Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers and the opposition of serious citizens and grassroots organizations is proving that a Debra Maggart is going to have a hard time doing her job as the “caucus” leader of even getting herself re-elected much less others!

Indeed, she and Harwell have reportedly been begging other Republican incumbents to give Maggart their campaign contributions from their own races to try and save Maggart herself from the allegedly illegitimate challenge to her throne. Although we will not know until the October disclosure reports are filed, my bet is that very few of these other Republican incumbents have given her money and even fewer have stepped up as of the eve of the election and publicly stood and endorsed Maggart.

Press Releases

TFA: NRA Invests ‘Unheard of’ Amount in Support of Rogers Campaign

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 13, 2012: 

It is no secret that the hottest primary race in Tennessee is the campaign to elect Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers in the August 2 primary in Sumner County (District 45) and the intended defeat of incumbent Debra Maggart.

The NRA has already invested as of June 30 $75,000 in support of Rogers and the defeat of Maggart in a state House primary which by all accounts is unheard of.

In addition to the NRA’s investment in the race, TFA has invested $10,600 as of June 30, and other statewide and local grassroots organizations including Tea Party groups, the Tennessee Republican Assembly (TRA), are waging similar battles to support Courtney Rogers as a true grassroots steward and to defeat a self-perceived “ruler” such as Debra Maggart.

The issues driving the work to defeat Maggart are much broader than just the 2nd Amendment. They include her condescending attitude in general towards grassroots and constitutional interests, her work to disregard the constitutional sheriffs’ bill, her position on the Health Care Compact, her acceptance of “ghost voting” which is a violation of written House Rules and even the outrageous fact that she gladly takes and retains per diem payments that are intended as reimbursements to legislators who must actually travel to be in Nashville to cover their hotel accommodations. TRA’s mailer does not even reference the 2nd Amendment:

In response to the outrage being expressed by so many groups of voters and grassroots interests, Debra Maggart appears to be getting desperate. She claims in a mailer released this week that she has a 100% pro 2nd Amendment voting record despite the fact that the National Rifle Association and TFA – the two most knowledgeable grassroots organizations on 2nd Amendment issues in Tennessee over the last several decades both specifically identify Maggart’s votes on the two Safe Commute bills this year as clear evidence to the contrary. In an apparent delusional moment – or because truthfully stating that she has a less than 100% voting record would not be good enough – Maggart herself writes in her mailer:

“I also have a 100% voting record on the Second Amendment, despite my critics from the Washington DC area.”

Setting aside that the NRA’s offices are in Virginia, the fact is that the NRA is advocating for the interests of its members who are residents of Tennessee and that the other organizations opposing her also almost exclusively comprised of Tennesseans. While she might try an Obama tactic of denying the truth (or she may sadly actually believe what she says) the facts are clearly otherwise. Her race has the attention of 100’s of thousands of Tennesseans and their collective grassroots voices.

Maggart cannot accept the fact that she has, like Japan did in World War II, awaken a proverbial “sleeping giant” comprised of Tennessean voters with her own outrageous and condescending conduct.

In addition to her delusional assertions, it appears that either Maggart has herself solicited or otherwise obtained the support of her incumbent leadership peers or they have simply chosen to fall on their own 2nd Amendment swords to come to her aid. For example, another member of House Republican leadership, Gerald McCormick claims that he did more to kill the Safe Commute bill than Maggart did. In response to a statement from NRA’s Chris Cox that Maggart was the lead dog, McCormick claims he was (apparently not realizing that he might be the next top primary race in 2014….) more involved with stopping the Safe Commute act’s progress than Maggart was. Part of the news report reflects:

The NRA promised there would be political repercussions if the so-called “Guns in Parking Lots” bill failed, and now a billboard shows the group is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

* * *

Maggart is engaged in a hotly contested primary race with Tea Party candidate Courtney Rogers.

The NRA has put in an unprecedented $75,000 into the race, with the hopes of defeating Maggart.

“The message we’re trying to send is that, despite what Debra Maggart says as a politician, actions speak louder than words,” said Chris Cox, with the NRA.

The billboard compares Maggart’s gun record to Obama’s, even though just a year ago, Maggart had an “A+” rating from the NRA.

“Debra Maggart almost single-handedly killed a piece of self-defense legislation by refusing to allow an up or down vote,” Cox said.

However, that claim is being disputed by other Republican leaders.

“That’s just an inaccurate statement. I had a lot more to do with killing that bill than she did,” said State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga.

Well, at least the observation that other Republican leaders are trying to confuse the facts is true. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey himself has also weighed in on the matter this week. Indeed, it is the underlying message from Ron Ramsey that should be the most troubling to citizens all across this state and which should give pause to legislators as they consider whether to restore him this fall to the office of Lt. Governor.

WPLN quotes just a portion of the Ramsey comments to TNReport in a video interview (you really need to watch this).

The measure to allow gun permit holders to keep firearms in their cars at work, regardless of the workplace’s policies, pitted business lobbyists against gun rights advocates during this year’s legislative session. The state legislature attempted to hammer out a compromise, but ultimately pushed the matter off until next year.

That upset the TFA, which is the state chapter of the National Rifle Association. The group is actively campaigning against one GOP legislator, Representative Debra Maggart, and the NRA sent a survey to candidates, trying to pin them down on the issue.

In video from TN Report, Speaker Ramsey, a Republican, says there’s a good chance the compromise bill will be revived, but he says it’s hard to predict how it will be received in light of the divisive campaigning.

“I don’t know what the mood of the general assembly will be when we come back in, whether it will be a mood to pass a bill or a mood that you don’t negotiate with people who threaten you. I don’t know what it will be.”

When asked by a reporter about the idea that gun rights groups are trying to bully Republicans, Ramsey said –quote- “it isn’t just a perception, that’s reality.”

What does Ron Ramsey mean when he talks about the “mood” of the General Assembly? That is what should scare the allegiance out of many citizens in this state and give good conservative Senators pause when its time to select the next Lt. Governor.

Realize that these grassroots organizations which are lining up against Maggart – NRA, TFA, TEA Party, TRA, and others, are predominately organizations that stand on the Constitution and are comprised of Tennessee citizens and voters. They are not business lobbyists representing commercial interests or truly out of state concerns. NRA alone reports that it has 100,000+ members in Tennessee – perhaps 1 in 15 of the statewide likely voters.

What Ramsey is saying and other legislators have been heard to say is that if or when citizen groups – grassroots groups – demand accountability from legislators, that is when they demand constitutional soundness, when they demand allegiance to the legislative oath to uphold first the Constitution and when legislators put business, private or commercial interests first ahead of the Constitutions or the individual rights of citizens … the legislators do get “moody” and can simply refuse to abide by the Constitution, their oaths or the rights of the citizens! Moody simply because the citizens demanded what the legislators should have done without prodding or demands in the first place!

What Ramsey is saying and other legislators have said is that these Republican leaders and caucuses are willing to retaliate against all of the citizens in this state – and their constitutional and individual rights – by blocking or delaying constitutionally sound and appropriate legislation if grassroots groups stand “too” firm on the constitution or the rights of citizens. That Republican legislators can and will retaliate against the citizens if advocacy groups honestly tell legislators that they will seek out primary challengers if the legislators fail to do their jobs and honor their oaths. Apparently, Republican legislators – at least some of them – are offended that anyone would question the soundness of the judgment or motives and are willing to retaliate against the people that they were elected to serve. That sounds more like Emperor Nero than a constitutionally conservative steward.

Do we need or can we even tolerate legislators who have to be “in the mood” to uphold the constitution? Can we place the citizens at risk by expecting grassroots advocate groups of citizens to “back off” if a moody legislator feels that the demands of constitutional accountability make them, as Phil Valentine would say, “uncomfortable” when held against the conflicting demands of business lobbyists like Federal Express, Bridgestone, Volkswagen, and the Chamber of Commerce?

The sad fact is that the controversy over the Safe Commute law failed this year but it will be resolved in the future just as ultimately other abdications by prior legislators have been resolved involving prior stonewalling over things like carry permits, reciprocity, carry in state parks, carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, and other mindless and needless restrictions on your fundamental rights. Time and changes in the composition of the Legislature will cure this issue.

But, the thing that should really drive every citizen in this state to action now is the unintended admissions by people like Ron Ramsey that the Republican legislative leaders are willing to trash your constitutional rights when the “mood” strikes them. They are willing to retaliate against all citizens and their rights if they conclude that the NRA, the TFA, the Tea Party, Right to Life, the Eagle Forum, Homeschoolers, Immigration advocates, 10th Amendment advocates, 1st Amendment advocates or any other grassroots advocacy groups are not “playing” they way the legislators want the game played which is really nothing more than “we will give you what we want to allow you to have if and when we want to give it to you….”

2012 may be about making an example of Debra Maggart but the fact is that some of the other incumbents may be too moody to get the message. 2014 may be where the real work lies and that work must start now with a close examination of a lot of other incumbents.

Press Releases

NRA Endorses Maggart’s Opponent in GOP Primary

Newsletter from the Tennessee Firearms Association; June 13, 2012:

Fairfax, Va. – The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is announcing its endorsement of Courtney Rogers for the Tennessee House of Representatives in District 45 in the August 2 Republican primary election.

“Courtney Rogers is a staunch supporter of our right to keep and bear arms,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of NRA-PVF. “Serving our country in the U.S. military for 28 years on sensitive and important missions, Lt. Colonel Rogers has demonstrated her leadership abilities which the state of Tennessee so badly needs today. Because of her outspoken support of our Second Amendment freedoms, Courtney Rogers has earned an “AQ” rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF.”

In contrast, her opponent, Representative Debra Maggart, has undermined our Second Amendment rights. Just this past session, Rep. Maggart tried to kill life-saving legislation known as the Safe Commute Act through procedural maneuvering behind closed doors. The Safe Commute Act would have ensured that Tennessee’s 350,000 handgun carry permit holders would have been able to defend themselves against violence as they commuted away from home. NRA members throughout the state can rest assured that Lt. Colonel Rogers, once elected to office, will see that this wrong is righted.

“We urge all NRA members and gun owners in Tennessee’s House District 45 to vote Courtney Rogers in the August 2 Republican primary,” concluded Cox.

Chris W. Cox is NRA’s chief lobbyist and a seventh generation Tennessean. He also serves as chairman of NRA-PVF. The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is responsible for political candidate rankings. These are based on candidate voting records, public statements and responses to NRA-PVF questionnaires.


Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen’s group. Four million members strong, NRA continues to uphold the Second Amendment and advocates enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation’s leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services. Be sure to follow the NRA on Facebook at and on Twitter @NRA.


TFA and PAC Contributions

A Tennessee Republican House member commented to TFA that

“I am aware that there has been statements made [by House leadership] that neither the NRA or TFA is serious about raising the money necessary to help us [the Republicans] win a conservative majority. . . . If you guys were serious, with the real fuel of politics, money, we could be better positioned to win more seats. . . . [w]hat you have found is your weakness….the lack of real support from your own membership……beyond the rhetoric and reaching to the finance and ground game of politics.”

The fact has been proven in 2012 that too many legislators place too much value on the money that they think gets them re-elected and too little value on their oaths to uphold and strengthen the constitutions or the rights vested or protected therein. Business interests know this and invest huge funds into political campaigns so that they can purchase the laws or repeal of laws that they desire.

TFA raises money not to support one party or the other but to support specific legislators or candidates who have demonstrated facts from which it is clear that TFA should support them to the extent we can. In 2010, for example, TFA distributed more than $30,000 in contributions to candidates. It is important for TFA to continue to grow its membership, its member support and its network with and among similar constitutionally based organizations. What can you do to help?

  • Make a financial commitment to support and Join TFA. An annual membership is about the price of one box of self-defense ammo or a box of hunting rounds. If you are already a member, recruit additional members or chip in a few more dollars with a voluntary contribution to continue our struggle to restore our rights.
  • Help TFA raise funds for the TFA PAC so that we can help to financially support not only the campaigns of those who have stood firm, particularly against the mandates of leadership, but also to support those who would challenge these “conservatives in name only” individuals during election cycles. As with Speaker Naifeh, we might not defeat Speaker Harwell, Rep. Gerald McCormick, or, based on recent events, even Lt. Gov. Ramsey in a general election but we can certainly defeat enough of those in the caucus who would return these leaders to power.
  • You can make PAC contributions online and, if you desire, on an automatically recurring basis. TFA uses both PayPal and an alternative on the website that will process payments by credit card, debit card and even checks.
  • Encourage others to take advantage of the free TFALAC email alert system. Continue to forward these messages as so many of you do but also encourage them to directly subscribe to the free alerts.
  • Join the discussion and share your communications with legislators by participating in the TFA Facebook Group and taking an active role in the more detailed discussions and information sharing on the TFA Forum