Press Releases

TFA Releases 2014 State Candidate Survey Results

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; July 1, 2014: 

NASHVILLE, TN – The Tennessee Firearms Association has released the results of their 2014 state candidate survey today. The survey consists of 26 questions on Second Amendment issues, including Constitutional Carry and Safe Commute, as well as striking down federal law that violate the Tenth Amendment. The survey was sent to every candidate running for state legislative office in the August 7th primary election.

“Our goal was simply to ask candidates where they stand on the right to keep and bear arms and then to make that information available to the voters for their use when voting” said John Harris, Executive Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association. “Candidates who refused to take a stand by not returning their survey will be judged by the pro- Second Amendment voters in their district.”

The survey also includes a Leadership Pledge allowing candidates to state on the record that they would not endorse other candidates who are anti-gun, would not vote for leadership who is anti-gun, would work towards a recorded floor vote on firearms legislation, and would work to make caucus meetings open to the public.

Every candidate who returned their survey has their answers posted on the TFA website. Representatives Vance Dennis and Josh Evans informed the TFA that they refused to return their completed survey. Representative Charles Sargent promised in a public meeting to return his survey but then refused to do so. Candidate Clark Boyd, who is challenging Senator Mae Beavers, also told TFA he would be returning his survey but did not.

The answers from each candidate can be viewed here:

Press Releases

TFA: Haslam Signs ‘Dangerous’ Safe Commute Bill Into Law

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; March 15, 2013:

Governor Bill Haslam signed into law on March 15, 2013, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s SB142 (House sponsor Rep. Jeremy Faison HB0118). This bill is a travesty and misrepresentation to the citizens of Tennessee.

It is a travesty because (not an exclusive list)

– it does not remove all risk of criminal prosecution;

– it does not protect the employee’s job from termination if the employee complies with the law;

– it is extremely limited to a “permit holder’s own vehicle” which could put at risk those permit holders who carpool, rent cars, lease cars, borrow cars, have courtesy cars, have “company cars”, or anyone else whose name is not on the title!

First, despite what Ron Ramsey has claimed, the soon to be law does not remove all risk of criminal prosecution. There are at least two statutes (TCA 39-17-1314 and the criminal trespass statute and possibly others) where criminal prosecution still is available. In addition, if prosecution arises, your weapon(s) will be subject to mandatory forfeiture (TCA 39-17-1359). It addition those who are not the “owner” of the car, could be criminally prosecuted.

Second, despite what Ron Ramsey claimed, the soon to be law does not protect the employees’ jobs, health care or even the ability to apply for unemployment. With whatever respect is due, Ramsey’s assertions do demonstrate that he does not comprehend the basis of Tennessee’s employment at will doctrine. It is clear, as Rep. Faison testified in committee that the employer is a full liberty to fire any employee who violates a “no weapons” employment policy.

It is very curious that on March 14, 2013, Lt. Gov. Ramsey and 4 other Senators (including Jim Tracey who is wanting to run for Congress) signed and sent a letter (attached hereto) to the Senate Clerk asking that the legislative history be clarified by stating their intent (contrary to the House Sponsor) that employers would not be able to terminate employees and that if the employers did so that the terminate employees could sue for wrongful termination. That letter evidences that none of those five senators really understands the employment at will doctrine. Drinking is legal under the law, but you can be fired if the employer has a no alcohol policy. Smoking is legal under the law, but you can be fired if there is a no smoking policy. Supporting a particular political party is legal under the law, but you can be fired from private employment for voting for the wrong party. Ramsey is either clueless on the current law or is intentionally misrepresenting it.

Once again, Ramsey is reckless with the rights of citizens. While he claims a fired employee could sue, he makes no reference to the fact that under Public Chapter 1046 passed by the Establishment Republicans in 2012 that if you did sue and you lost (which is practically certain under Tennessee’s employment at will doctrine) that the trial court shall award to the employer up to $10,000 in court costs, deposition costs, attorney’s fees and other expenses. [Once again, evidence that the Establishment Republicans in Tennessee are destroying your constitutional rights].

Pelosi said that they had to pass Obamacare so that we would know what is in it. Ramsey is worse. The Establishment Republicans are worse. Haslam is worse. We told them what was wrong with Ramsey and Faison’s bill and they passed it anyway!!! Then they misrepresent what it does and does not do!!!

About the only thing this bill does positively is to provide a voting record of those legislators who have willfully made a choice on the 2nd Amendment that puts the jobs of Tennessee’s handgun permit holders at risk.

Senate Vote on SB0142


Senators voting aye were: Beavers, Bell, Bowling, Campfield, Crowe, Dickerson, Finney L, Ford, Gardenhire, Green, Gresham, Haile, Hensley, Johnson, Kelsey, Ketron, Massey, McNally, Niceley, Norris, Overbey, Southerland, Stevens, Summerville, Tracy, Watson, Yager, Mr. Speaker Ramsey — 28.

Senators voting no were: Burks, Harper, Henry, Kyle, Tate — 5.

House Votes on HB0118


Representatives voting aye were: Alexander, Brooks H, Brooks K, Butt, Calfee, Carr D, Carter, Casada, Coley, Curtiss, Dean, DeBerry J, Dennis, Doss, Dunn, Durham, Eldridge, Evans, Faison, Floyd, Forgety, Goins, Halford, Hall, Harrison, Hawk, Haynes, Hill M, Hill T, Holt, Johnson C, Kane, Keisling, Lamberth, Littleton, Lollar, Lundberg, Lynn, Marsh, Matheny, Matlock, McCormick, McDaniel, McManus, Moody, Pitts, Pody, Powers, Ragan, Ramsey, Rich, Rogers, Sanderson, Sargent, Sexton, Shepard, Shipley, Sparks, Swann, Tidwell, Travis, Van Huss, Watson, Weaver, White D, White M, Williams K, Williams R, Windle, Wirgau, Womick, Madam Speaker Harwell — 72.

Representatives voting no were: Armstrong, Camper, Cooper, DeBerry L, Favors, Fitzhugh, Gilmore, Hardaway, Jernigan, Johnson G, Jones, Love, Miller, Mitchell, Odom, Parkinson, Powell, Shaw, Stewart, Towns, Turner J, Turner M — 22.

Press Releases

TFA Criticizes Safe Commute Bill as a Trap for Employees

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; February 13, 2013:

HB0118 is the House version of the Safe Commute law. It was presented by Rep. Faison in House Civil Subcommittee on 2/13. It passed out easily on a voice vote and without any debate from any Republican members of the committee – all of whom had been alerted to the omissions and holes in the bill in advance.

What will surprise some people is that the bill does not protect the employee’s job – it only removes some criminal penalties (there may still be possible criminal charges such as criminal trespass).

Essentially, the law is a Georgia style law because the employers will retain the ability to fire any employee with cause (that is, deny you unemployment benefits) if you are found to be or are even suspected to have a firearm in your car.

See 11 minutes into the video…

This bill is poorly written, it creates traps for employees.

It also explains why Federal Express, and the other very vocal opponents of the bill are not making the same kind of fuss that they have made the last 4 years to this bill. There is no loud opposition because they have been given the escape clause that they wanted.

We understand that the NRA is supporting this bill.

The bill next goes to the full committee – perhaps as early as next week.

Press Releases

TFA Praises Ramsey on New Guns-in-Cars Bill Despite ‘Potential Omissions’

Press release from the Tennessee Firearms Association; February 1, 2013:

The Tennessee Firearms Association is pleased to see that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey is a Senate Sponsor of at least part of the Safe Commute law in 2013 with the introduction of SB0142. The bill is scheduled to be heard in Senate Judiciary on February 5, 2013.

The bill as written would allow permit holders to store their firearms in their own cars even if parked on the parking lot of another, with minor exception, but it has some potential omissions that should be addressed. It is clear, however, that this bill addresses some of the issues that the Lt. Gov. personally promised TFA that he would see passed in 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately, none of those bills came to the Senate floor in 2011 or 2012.

The Tennessee Firearms Association is interested to see what develops with the bill and what type of amendments Lt. Gov. Ramsey tolerates this year. For example, in 2012 he, Haslam and Harwell openly opposed any bill such as this that did not include exceptions for large employers, state colleges and presumptively other government agencies. See, Indeed, there are news clips where he expressed similar concerns about his hesitations to the legislation in 2012 because of the desires of big business interests, the Chamber of Commerce and large schools to either opt-out or have some other means to avoiding such a law.

This year, TFA will oppose any amendments that would create exceptions to the concept embodied in the Safe Commute proposal that an individual should be allowed to keep in his or her car any items that the person legally owns and possesses.

As for concerns about the bill itself, there are some that will need to be addressed only to the sponsor but he has not responded to repeated requests to discuss the bill. Setting those topics aside, there are other concerns with the bill that are clearly apparent to anyone reading the proposed bill. For example:

– the bill is limited to a “permit holder’s privately-owned motor vehicle.” We are not aware of any reason to exclude permit holders who are relying on a borrowed car, a family owned car, a leased car or even a temporary rental from protection under this bill.

– the bill uses the qualifier “Notwithstanding §§ 39-17-1309, 39-17-1311, or § 39-17-1359, . . .” We are concerned that this language may be intended to avoid prohibitions under other statutes or that it would not address grand fathered local government restrictions under 39-17-1314 such as apply in Knoxville and Davidson Counties relative to government parking areas and/or locally managed parks.

– the bill does not address “incidental exposure” that could occur while the permit holder is storing the weapon in the car if that occurs on the property. Thus, a security camera or another employee that sees a permit holder placing the weapon in the glove compartment once on the property might not be protected by the legislation as presently written.

– the bill does not preclude an employer from having a “no weapons” policy and firing, terminating or refusing to hire individuals with carry permits or who store their weapons in the parking areas (and consequently denying them both safe commute as well as unemployment benefits or any remedy for wrongful termination.)

– the bill would criminalize under state law possession on any federal property that might be restricted. We would prefer that Tennessee not bootstrap federal infringements of 2nd Amendment rights and leave the enforcement of any such restrictions to be the burden of the federal government.

We would be glad to work with the Lt. Gov. and the bill co-sponsors to address these issues and have offered to do so. We are waiting on a response.