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Press Releases

NRA Sinks $75k Into Campaign to Defeat Maggart

Press Release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 9, 2012: 

A search of public records shows that the National Rifle Association is willing to put its money where its mouth is when it announced that it was endorsing Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers and that it specifically was targeting incumbent Debra Maggart in the 2012 August Republican Primaries. This endorsement arose, in part, by Debra Maggart’s role in leadership where she stomped all over the 2nd Amendment rights of Tennesseans primarily because it appears that she was bought off by Big Business and evidenced a Republican leadership that is clearly more about what “Big Business wants” than the lives of citizens and the Constitutions of Tennessee and the United States.

A political action committee report filed by the NATIONAL RIFLE ASSN POLITICAL VICTORY FUND with the State of Tennessee on July 6 shows that it has already invested $75,373.87 supporting Lt. Col. Courtney Roger’s in her efforts to unseat Debra Maggart. The only other contribution or investment by the NRA on that report was $2,500 to incumbent Joshua Evans.

In response to the NRA’s investment to defeat her, Debra Maggart has reportedly circulated the following call for help to her incumbent peers….

Members,

With few days remaining in the Primary, I wanted to share an item with you.

According to this most recent 2nd Quarter disclosure, the NRA is going to spend $75,000 against me, and only made one contribution to a member of this Caucus.

It is our duty to protect ALL the rights of Tennesseans, not just a select few deemed higher by one organization or another. We must not allow political groups to bully us into making bad public policy. We must be courageous enough to make the right decisions. The people of our districts deserve nothing less.

I am prepared for this fight and consider this a fight on behalf of you, thoughtful conservatives here in Tennessee, and the conservative principles that have made our state so great.

We have said all along “It matters who governs.” The last two years have been some of the most successful Tennessee has ever had, building off previous victories for conservative principle.

We are hardly finished.

But allowing a group to try and dominate our agenda from Washington–of all places–would be counterproductive to say the least.

You can see the report at the following link:

https://apps.tn.gov/tncamp-app/search/pub/report_full.htm?reportId=40727

I hope you will feel free to contact me if I can be of service to you. I am always available while on the campaign trail and am eagerly looking forward to November when our majority will grow.

Debra

The interesting thing about Maggart’s frantic statement is that she claims or suggests that her decision on the Safe Commute act had anything to do with protecting the “rights of Tennesseans” or was motivated by the interests of the people in her district. The record seems abundantly clear that Maggart’s actions – and those generally of Republican leadership had nothing to do with the rights of the people or the Constitution.

Debra Maggart told TFA she did not want the firearms legislation to come up because it would – in her opinion – make it harder for the Republicans to get more seats in the General Assembly. That has nothing to do with “rights” of the people, that has everything to do with partisan power.

The second consideration that arose in the legislative cycle was that the main opposition to the legislation was not coming from a citizens’ group concerned about constitutional rights or interests. It came from Big Business that was concerned about its ability to fire employees for cause who violated or were caught violating employer imposed rules that were set in place without regard to the Constitution.

Keep in mind that the Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion this year which concluded that this law, if passed, would not impair the constitutional rights of any third parties – including the employers.

TFA is already and is going to be a part of this battle to remove Debra Maggart and replace her with a candidate who still values the constitution over money and partisan power.

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
Categories
Education Featured Liberty and Justice News Transparency and Elections

Many Friends, Many Enemies

Updated at 3:38 p.m. 

Rep. Debra Maggart insists she’s a shoo-in to win her GOP primary against retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers.

But that’s not stopping the House Republican Caucus chairwoman from asking party bigwigs like Gov. Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey to take the time to campaign locally on her behalf.

While Haslam has indicated he’d probably be inclined to support any GOP incumbent this election season, Maggart in particular was “critical” to the administration’s legislative efforts this year — “really helpful,” the governor told reporters recently.

“As a caucus leader, sometimes when you’re the leader, you take a little added heat and pressure from folks. And we wanted to support her, and it worked out well,” Haslam said.

Over the past two years Maggart has deeply angered two influential constituencies that, while they may not typically be aligned politically, do share a recognized ability to get sympathetic Tennesseans to the polls on issues they hold dear.

Those two groups are stalwart gun-rights advocates and unionized teachers. And both would love to see Maggart spend the 2012 general election season wondering what she needs to do to make a political comeback in 2014.

Both the Tennessee Firearms Association and the National Rifle Association have made their displeasure with Maggart widely known.

Maggart, along with other high-ranking House GOP lawmakers, prevented a bill from coming to the chamber floor that would have granted legal protections for certain government-licensed gun owners to keep a firearm stored in their vehicles parked on their employers’ property — even over the objections of the employers themselves.

The NRA and TFA described the legislation as necessary to ensure a gun-owning employee can enjoy a “safe commute” to work and not be subject to an employer’s demand that he or she choose between keeping a gun locked in the car or keeping a job.

Should such a powerful incumbent as Maggart fall in the primary, it would send a message to other Republicans that snubbing the NRA and TFA comes at a cost.

For the Tennessee Education Association, a Maggart loss in the primary would offer a glimmer of hope in what has otherwise been a dismal past couple of years legislatively.

The union is still fuming over Maggart’s instrumental leadership in eliminating collective bargaining for teachers in 2011 and would delight in playing a role in her ouster in 2012, said TEA lobbyist Jerry Winters.

The association has yet to endorse a candidate in the District 45 primary but is considering pointedly reminding Sumner County teachers that they’ll soon have a golden opportunity to cast a powerfully meaningful vote against Maggart, Winters said.

“We’ve got a lot of teachers who identify as Republicans, but I think that they are starting to be much more aware of how individual legislators vote on these education issues,” he said.

Primary elections are open in Tennessee, meaning that voters can cast ballots in whichever party primary they choose.

Rogers, Maggart’s primary opponent, told TNReport she likely herself would have gone along with moves to reduce the TEA’s influence in contract negotiations. But Rogers added that she is “concerned about our teachers” and believes it “important that teachers are taken care of and feel that they’re appreciated.”

Maggart insisted to The Tennessean newspaper recently that attention surrounding her race is somewhat overblown, saying “I don’t know if I would characterize it as a legitimate primary challenge.”

The representative, who contacted TNReport after this article was posted, took issue with the suggestion she predicts she’s a “shoo-in” for re-election. But she stressed that she’s “confident” voters in her district will keep her in office because she’s been active in her community, worked hard to champion conservative issues in the Legislature and had been consistently involved in the Republican Party — credentials she says Rogers lacks.

“I have a good idea about what makes a legitimate candidate,” she said, adding Rogers had only $3,600 in her campaign war chest as of March. According to campaign finance records, Maggart had $86,000.

Maggart also said she’s long been active within GOP and said Rogers is new jumping on the Republican band wagon.

“I didn’t just wake up one day and decide to get involved in the Republican party,” Maggart said. “I believe the people in my district know that I’ve done a good job.”

But Maggart still asked Haslam to headline a reception and fundraiser for her last week and asked Ramsey to come, too, to attend and lend his support. He said “it felt good” to be there for Maggart’s event, adding there was a “huge crowd.”

“Obviously, for some reason, Debra became the focal point of NRA’s misplaced anger, and so it doesn’t surprise me at all that her opponent got the endorsement,” said Ramsey.

House Speaker Beth Harwell, says she, too, is confident in Maggart’s re-election and doesn’t take any issue with lawmakers soliciting primary election support from the governor.

“I think he wanted to indicate his support to Debra, who’s been supportive of some of his initiatives, and I think that was a very gracious use of his time,” said Harwell.

Haslam said he hasn’t gone through the list of Republican incumbents with primary challengers to determine which ones he’ll spend his time campaigning for.

“Right now, there’s certainly not an incumbent that we’re planning on working against,” he said.

Asked if she worries all the notable politicians lining up to support the incumbent will ultimately prove an insurmountable advantage for her opponent, Rogers said not really.

“I don’t think any one of them votes in this district,” she said. “I’ll just take it with a grain of salt.”

Categories
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.

–NRA-PVF–

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 www.facebook.com/NationalRifleAssociation 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
Categories
Business and Economy Liberty and Justice NewsTracker

Ramsey Against Guns-In-Lots Protections for Hunters

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said Thursday he believes the advancing guns-in-lots legislation goes “too far” as it’s currently written.

He spoke to reporters at his weekly media availability about Sen. Mike Faulk’s bill, SB3002, which moved out of a Senate committee earlier this week and is headed to the Senate floor. The bill, which would allow employees to store firearms in their cars parked on company lots, was amended so that it applied only to gun carry permit holders and licensed hunters aged 21 or older.

“I do think they go too far, and I’m as big of a Second Amendment rights person that’s ever lived,” Ramsey said. “But I think expanding it to hunting licenses — even though I can see why they did that — but that’s something that doesn’t need to be done. It needs to be gun carry permit holders only.”

Sen. Beverly Marrero, D-Memphis, and others at the committee meeting Tuesday questioned the level of training and expertise necessary for a person to obtain a hunter’s license. While the meeting was going on, an Associated Press reporter purchased a license online for $27.

Ramsey said he’s never had a “philosophical struggle” like the current one, between property rights and Second Amendment rights, both of which are traditional pillars of the Republican party.

“The [National Rifle Association] and I are on different sides on this, right now,” he said. “That’s highly unusual for me, of course, but they want to go much further than I do.”

Still, he said he believes differences among legislators will be worked out and that he expects to see amendments proposed on the Senate floor.

Categories
Environment and Natural Resources Liberty and Justice

Governor Shooting for Narrowed Scope of Guns-in-Parking-Lots Legislation

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told reporters Wednesday that he expects to see “guns in parking lots” legislation on his desk this session, though he would like to see it altered before it gets there.

A bill brought by Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Church Hill, would require employers and landowners to allow workers to store legally owned firearms in their cars on company parking lots. The bill would apply to private businesses as well as public institutions and would cover all gun owners, as opposed to just those with handgun carry permits.

Haslam said the bill, as currently written, is too broad, and that he’s working to find a balance between the concerns of gun rights advocates and business associations. He did not say, however, what specific changes he’d like to see made to the legislation.

“We felt like it was overly broad in terms of it covered all parking lots, everywhere, whether it was at a school or other things,” he said. “I don’t know that I’ve gotten to the specific level of saying and what should be out. I haven’t done the hard work of thinking through all the different circumstances.”

While lawmakers attempt to rein in the bill, which Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell have characterized as overly broad, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce says the plan in any form would shoot holes in its property rights.

“I still don’t know how you can take away the private property rights of individuals in the name of the 2nd Amendment or the right to bear arms,” said Deborah Woolley, chamber president. “Both rights have to be protected, and telling someone they can’t bring their weapon on my property, it doesn’t take away a right to bear an arm. It means they can’t bring it on my property.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday heard testimony from fans of the bill, who argued that, when a company’s gun-free policy includes workers’ cars, it impedes on their own property rights and their right to self-defense.

Sam Cooper, a FedEx employee from Memphis, told the committee that workers don’t need a firearm at work, but rather on their commute to and from the workplace. By banning guns in parking lots, he argued, companies effectively prevent workers from leaving their homes with a legally owned firearm.

“When my employer, or any employer that bans legal storage of legal firearm, says to me, or anybody, ‘you can’t have it in the parking lot,’ they’ve essentially extended their property rights all the way to my front door,” he said.

West Tennessee Firearms Association Board Member Richard Archie said his daughter picks up her child on the way home from work. Without the ability to carry a weapon in her car, he said, she is left defenseless if anything should anything go wrong.

“If she has a flat tire on the way there on (U.S.) 412, coming back, we’ve turned her loose to the wolves of the world,” he said.

NRA lobbyist Heidi Keesling and Shelby County small-business owner Kenny Crenshaw also appeared before the committee in support of the bill. Keesling said another goal of the legislation is to create more uniformity amongst various states, which have different laws governing where gun owners can take and store their firearms.

In response to the testimony, Sen. Beverly Marrero said she routinely drives about Memphis – which is among the most dangerous cities in the country – without a firearm or concern for her safety.

“I drive around in Memphis all the time. I’m able to drive around all hours of the day and night, all over Memphis. I don’t have a gun. Don’t carry one in my car. I feel relatively safe,” said the 73-year-old Shelby County Democrat. “It seems to me that gentlemen seem to me more afraid to drive around at night in Memphis, than women. Maybe we should talk to y’all a little bit more.”

The committee will hear testimony from opponents of the measure, including the Chamber of Commerce, on March 6 before taking any action on the bill.

 

Andrea Zelinski contributed to this report