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TFA Launches Advocacy E-Mail System

Statement from the Tennessee Firearms Association’s Legislative Action Committee; Feb. 17, 2011:

The Tennessee Firearms Association has rolled out a new advocacy package which will make it easier, more efficient and more effective for our members and our supporters to get directly involved in bringing their voices directly to the state’s elected officials on the bills, legislation and issues that are important to us as citizens,  voters, hunters, shooters and firearms owners of all interests.

This new product, developed and supported by Voter Voice, will allow TFA to develop campaigns and even suggested email messages that each individual can customize into his or her own message.  It is critical in fact that these suggested messages, including the “subjects” be adopted and modified by each person so that it is your message and not simply some canned message.

This system is not a substitute for the need for personal visits, phone calls, and other emails. It is a supplement to help make sure that the elected officials hear from the voters who put them in office and who have the ability to remove them from office when representation turns into personal agendas.

We have already prepared the first message.  Please following this link back to the main TFA website and start today to send your first communications to our elected officials to let them know what we want to see from the legislature in 2011 and beyond.

Please feel free to send this email to everyone you know who may have an interest in hunting, personal rights and firearms ownership.  Even if they are not presently TFA members, we want to inform them about what TFA can and will do to help them be involved on a personal level.

TFA Advocacy – First Message

TFA MEMBERSHIP

TFA is a grassroots organization. Membership in TFA helps support our collective efforts by covering the costs of the TFA website, its forum, these alerts, and other organizational necessities.  If you are receiving these emails and are not already a member of TFA, I urge you to consider joining TFA because your support is important.

If you would like to join or renew your membership, you can do so online at this link JOIN TFA

John Harris?Executive Director

www.tennesseefirearms.com

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Tennessee Firearms Association: No Time Like Present to Push Gun Rights Bills

Newsletter from the TFA Legislative Action Committee; Jan. 18, 2011:

“Wait 2 or 3 years . . . .”

We have received a lot of questions, expressions of concern and a fair amount of anger about reports that some in the 107th General Assembly (a/k/a the current Tennessee Legislature) have expressed the opinion, particularly to 2nd Amendment supporters and firearms owners, that “we” should not come and ask for any more changes in Tennessee’s gun laws for “2 or 3 years . . . .”  Although this 2 year legislative session is about to commence, this sentiment has already generated what appears to be a lot of dissatisfaction and even anger with those who now control the leadership in the 107th General Assembly.

Reportedly, 2010 marked the first time since the War of Northern Aggression (a/k/a the “Civil War”) when the Republican Party has been in clear control of the General Assembly and the office of Governor.  Note, I am not saying that this is the first time that conservatives have been in control since it is commonly accepted that there are those who are labeled Republicans who are not core, constitutional conservatives.

Some would argue and it is likely true that core constitutional conservatives including gun owners, NRA members, TFA members, Eagle Forum, Tea Party members, and others who are members of one or more predominately core conservative value organizations are the instrumentalities that brought about the revolt and changes in 2010.  Certainly, it was not the mainstream Republican party since it has remained under the control of the same segment of individuals, such as Lamar Alexander, Bob Corker, Howard Baker, Bill Frist, etc., for quite some time.  Indeed, had it been the maintstream Republican party, then why 2010?  Why not 2000, 1996, 1994, 1988 or any other even numbered year since the War of Northern Aggression?  What changed in 2010 was the uprising of numerous core conservative grassroots organizations which had frankly had enough of the “2 Party” system and their respective leaderships.

Those who have come into State public office as a result of the 2010 elections will take oaths as a condition precedent to service.  These oaths, insofar as the 107th General Assembly is concerned, as mandated by Article X of the Tennessee Constitution which provides, in relevant part:

§ 1. Oath of office

Every person who shall be chosen or appointed to any office of trust or profit under this Constitution, or any law made in pursuance thereof, shall, before entering on the duties thereof, take an oath to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States, and an oath of office.

§ 2. Oath of office; general assembly

Each member of the Senate and House of Representatives, shall before they proceed to business take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of this State, and of the United States and also the following oath: I ………. do solemnly swear (or affirm) that as a member of this General Assembly, I will, in all appointments, vote without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice; and that I will not propose or assent to any bill, vote or resolution, which shall appear to me injurious to the people, or consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge their rights and privileges, as declared by the Constitution of this State.

Thus, the members of the 107th General Assembly must take an oath (the integrity of which we will measure by their actions) which requires them to

• support the Constitution of Tennessee

• support the Constitution of the United States

• refuse to support any bill or resolution that would appear to be injurious to the people

• consent to any act or thing, whatever, that shall have a tendency to lessen or abridge [the peoples’] rights and privileges

Support of the respective constitutions means that they will support laws that are constitutionally sound but perhaps of equal importance that they will actively work to repeal, amend or replace laws that are adverse to either constitution.

In addition, the use of the term “consent” would carry with it the knowing tolerance of existing laws or regulations which would “have a tendency to lessen or abridge [the peoples’] rights and privileges.”  Thus, under this Oath, a legislator is affirming to the citizens of the State of Tennessee that they will act to cleanse and repeal statutes, rules and regulations which have the “tendency” to “lessen or abridge” the rights and privileges of the people as guaranteed by the Tennessee Constitution and, by extension through the support clause, the united States Constitution.

Against this Oath, we can examine what is implied or intended by the phrase “wait 2 or 3 years . . . .”

What does that phrase mean in the context of the Oath?  Are these legislators making the suggestion that our laws – those of interests to firearms owners, 2nd Amendment advocates, civil rights advocates and constitutional conservatives – are clearly within the framework of both constitutions at the present but that in “2 or 3 years” things will probably change for the worse and when they do the General Assembly will deal swiftly with them then?  No, that would clearly be a silly assertion for we know better.

Are they saying “wait 2 or 3 years” because we, as the General Assembly, have already bestowed significant attention to these issues in the past few years and we, the General Assembly, think that it would be better received by the news media and the general public if we spent our time and resources on other topics – any topics other than firearms or 2nd Amendment rights.  Bills such as these might be in need of preferential review:

• HB 0026 by Hardaway Firearms and Ammunition – As introduced, creates various gun show offenses, including prohibiting any person who is not a licensed firearms dealer from transferring a firearm to another person if any part of the transfer takes place at a gun show or within 1,000 feet of a gun show. – Amends TCA Title 39, Chapter 17.

• HB 0099 by Hardaway Animal Control – As introduced, requires all owners of dangerous, vicious, and wild animals to secure minimal liability insurance of $100,000 within 60 days from the date the owner knows or should reasonably know that the animal is a dangerous, vicious, or wild animal. – Amends TCA Title 39 and Title 44.

It is not real clear what some members of the 107th General Assembly intend when we hear the phrase “wait 2 or 3 years ….” so, let us examine that concept.

It would seem that the priority of legislation should in most instances place somewhere near the top those bills which address the very core foundations, protections, rights and principles that are central to the two (2) constitutions at issue.  Thus, topics which address the protections or infringements of rights and privileges guaranteed by the Bill of Rights should take priority.  Topics which address the limits and relationship between the State and the union government (10th and 14th Amendment issues) need priority.  Topics such as funding government and the proper scope of powers of State and local government need attention.  Topics such as the preservation and restoration of citizenship rights and privileges (including illegal immigration) may deserve priority.  Topics such as the access to public natural resources need attention.  Topics such as the swift, certain and adequate punishment of criminals (that is, the State’s police power) require attention. Truly, there are many issues which are properly before the General Assembly and, sadly, too many which are a waste of time and resources because of their apparent silliness if nothing else.

But the issue is what compels some members of the General Assembly in addressing specifically those issues which are guaranteed by Article I, Section 26 of the Tennessee Constitution and the 2nd Amendment to the united States Constitution (now by virtue of the 14th Amendment and the McDonald decision) to declare that these fundamental issues should “wait 2 or 3 years ….”  Are we being told that this category of rights that are expressly protected by both constitutions were not intended to be included when they took their Constitutional oaths of office?  Are we to accept that these constitutional protected rights are somehow less significant than whether individuals who own “dangerous” animals have $100,000 liability insurance?

So, when it comes to the rights which are protected by the State and federal constitutions, how do those, who take an oath to uphold and protect the constitutions, to defend the consitutions and to be intolerant of any bill or current law or regulation which is injurious to the rights to protected justify tolerating presently unconstitutional laws for “2 or 3 years”?  Many do not because they do not, at the core, place the Oath and what it stands for as the compass of their public service or the litmus by which they test proposed legislation as well as existing statutes and regulations. Indeed, too many in public sevice even end up at public expense in prison because they disregard – or never even took seriously – the Oath.

Perhaps about the only answer they can give when they tell us to wait is perceive political expediance before an electoriate which is sadly ignorant of the Constitution, of civics and which increasingly care only about whether they get more from government than they are required to contribute to its function.  These public officials might also be concerned that some news reporter will not understand the existence or function of the Constitutions and thereby may malign them in the press for spending “too much” time on “guns” much as we have seen over the last 15 years.

Ultimately, the point is that the General Assembly, being fully elected by the people, should be the champion first and foremost of the duty to protect the constitutionally recognized and protected rights of the citizens.  Slapping those in the face who brought them to power should not be lightly accepted and if persistent should result in the clear and unequivocal removal from office as soon as the opportunity presents.

Some might say that those of week continence or conviction relative to constitutional rights should not be placed in a positions of public trust.  Others might saw that we, the citizens, choose our masters and if we choose fools – so be it.

Cesare Beccaria noted:

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Can it be supposed that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, the most important of the code, will respect the less important and arbitrary ones, which can be violated with ease and impunity, and which, if strictly obeyed, would put an end to personal liberty… and subject innocent persons to all the vexations that the guilty alone ought to suffer? Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. They ought to be designated as laws not preventive but fearful of crimes, produced by the tumultuous impression of a few isolated facts, and not by thoughtful consideration of the inconveniences and advantages of a universal decree.

We sadly do not see evidence of such wisdom in the function of modern legislatures.  We must, as citizens, strive to force this concept on those who strive to public service but who do not already hold such a doctrine as a core principal on which public policies should be founded.

Nashville Chapter meeting 1-18-11

Nashville Chapter is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 ??Meeting time is 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm??In addition to discussion of the new legislative session, there will be a point/counter-point discussion of Permitted (Bob Pope) vs. Permit-less Carry (Andrew Asnip).??Some points to be discussed include:??•Arizona/Alaska style carry?•Vermont style carry (and the differences among them)?•Tennessee’s style of permit?•Reciprocity?•Qualification requirements – good or bad??Arrive early – 5:00 to 5:30 would be good. Eat in the meeting room if possible and if not, get as close as you can. We will try finishing eating by 7:00 in the meeting room to clear out everything but drinks for the meeting if we have a large turnout.??Location: Golden Corral Hermitage?315 Old Lebanon Dirt Rd?Hermitage, TN 37076?(615) 874-1313??IT IS IMPORTANT TO PAY AT GOLDEN CORRAL AS YOU COME IN FOR THE MEETING IF YOU ARE EATING. TELL THEM THAT AT THE CASH REGISTER THAT YOU ARE THERE FOR THE MEETING AND TO APPLY THE “GROUP RATE” WHICH INCLUDES YOUR DRINK.??You do not have to be a TFA member to attend nor do you have to be a resident of Nashville. Everyone is welcome and encourage to bring guests – even spouses.??I want to encourage each of you to bring someone with you to the meeting who has not been to one or been to one recently. There’s no cost to come (unless you eat because the meal is on you).

Shelby Chapter Meeting 1-20-11

The Shelby County Chapter of the Tennessee Firearms Association will meet Thursday, 1/20/11, at 7:00 PM at Range USA:

http://www.rangeusa.com/

2770 Whitten Road in Memphis. Please support Range USA every chance you can! They support TFA.

The District Attorney’s Office has scheduling conflicts, however, will meet with us at a future meeting. We will discuss our legislative goals and strategies for this year. For one, I’d like to discuss contacting businesses that post and work to overcome the ignorance and bigotry against carry permit holders. ? ? ?Although we always welcome new TFA Members, you DO NOT have to be a member to attend our meetings.

In Liberty,

Pat McGarrity

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TFA Director: Voting History Telling in Race for Speaker

An Emailed Statement to Subscribers of the Tennessee Firearms Association by TFA Executive Director John Harris; Nov. 10, 2010:

With the November 2 elections now part of history, decisions must be made on leadership in the General Assembly. While it is a pretty high probability that Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey will remain in that office in the Senate, there is uncertainty in the House. In 2008, the Republicans obtained what they thought was control but it was later determined that well planned manuevers by Democrat House leaders, probably under the leadership of Jimmy Naifeh, Gary Odom and Mike Turner, crafted a plan whereby all Democrats voted for Kent Williams, a Republican, who then voted for himself to be Speaker. There is no doubt that similar evaluations are being made at present as the decision on House leadership positions can be made as early as December.

At present, two of the most talked about candidates are Rep. Beth Harwell and Rep. Glen Casada both of whom are Republicans from Middle Tennessee. Each have long voting records. Each have NRA ratings – Casada has an A rating and Harwell has a B rating from the NRA. As for their voting records, neither have carried the controversial, core legislation that seeks to repeal the infringements and reclaim the full exercise of the rights protected under the 2nd Amendment and the Tennessee Constitution. But recent legislative votes are nonetheless telling.

Votes on legislation which require a clear understanding of the rights protected by the state and federal constitutions can be a useful “litmus test” on whether a candidate follows all of the provisions in these constitutions or just the convenient ones. Votes evidence the understanding of the phrase “shall not be infringed.” Votes evidence the conviction to put the protection and preservation of constitutionally protected rights and the principles of the Founding Fathers ahead of the panderings of the politically correct (misguided) such as often reflected in the opinion editorials of the few remaining newspapers in the state.

For 15 years, TFA has worked to provide relief for handgun permit holders who are dining at restaurants where alcohol or beer is served. After removing the control of Jimmy Naifeh from the Speaker’s office and the influence he had on sub-committee votes, we have passed this legislation in each of the last two years. In each year, it required a veto override. In 2010 when HB 3125 (by Curry Todd) was up on the floor, Rep. Casada voted for it and for the veto override. Rep. Beth Harwell, perhaps as the lone Republican doing so, voted against removing restrictions on your constitutional rights.

Another significant bill to examine is the parks legislation in 2009. HB 0716 (Nicely) addressed the ability of handgun permit holders to carry in public parks. It opened state and fedearl parks but unfortunately left an “opt out” for local parks – which is another topic and another bill. Again, the votes on whether to honor constitutional rights or whether to disregard rights in the name of perhaps “political correctness” surfaced. Rep. Casada voted for the Nicely legislation and Rep. Harwell voted against it.

This week, several grassroots activists have received calls predominately from supporters of one of these two candidates in which the message has essentially been that the activitists, that is to say – the citizens, need to shut up their commentary on which of the two candidates for House Speaker would be more desirable. The callers suggest that this is a matter to be solely determined by the “elected” representatives who presumably now “know what is best” for the state and the operation of government. What these calls may suggest is an arrogance that distances itself from the reality of a representative form of government.

It is important that we, including those who have been perhaps too long elected to office, value the principles of the 1st Amendment and the right of the citizen to petition elected officials as one of the most fundamental principles on which this State and this Country are based. On that right, citizens are encouraged to vote, to run for office and to support those seeking office each in accordance with their own perspectives and hopefully each with a view to maintaining and strengthening the current composition of government to reflect to the maximum extent possible the rights and freedoms reflected by our Founding Fathers at the state and union levels.

Given the role and power of the Speaker of the House as well as that of the Lt. Governor, interested citizens have a fundamental right to express their desires to no lesser extent that than they do in any other matter that might come before the representative body. For more than 15 years, we have seen as Speaker Naifeh used that office to control committees and procedures such that proposed legislation could be easily derailed by a few in subcommittees and committees even when it was well established that the legislation would pass if brought to the floor. The Speaker’s office and its disproportionate power in Tennessee governance greatly impacts the matters that are even brought for consideration before the full House. To suggest that the elected and re-elected representatives should be left to their own on the selection of a leader of this degree of power without the input from those whom they represent cannot be reconciled with the principles on which this State and union were founded. But, of these things you are already aware.

If the objection has been to the tone of the comments relative to one of these candidates, then in part that candidate must accept the consequences of the voting history on matters that are of concern to those who individually and collectively oppose that candidate’s desire to be Speaker. I have been involved in the legislature with 2nd Amendment issues since 1995. Voting histories reflect actions made in light of convictions held or not held on the core principles of the 2nd Amendment and/or the Tennessee Constitutional clause when those issues were hotly contested. A candidate may in good faith have represented what he/she perceived to be the preferences of that candidates constituents or simply his/her own prejudices but I submit that such preferences cannot take precedence over fundamental constitutional rights even if those rights appear to the candidate to be out of date or inconvenient (to borrow a phrase from Al Gore).

The opposition that many of those who have fought hard to protect, restore and reinforce the rights guaranteed under the 2nd Amendment and the Tennessee Constitution have with respect to a candidate are generally founded on that candidates own voting record. Many see an elected official’s voting history on these Second Amendment issues as a litmus test of the depth of that individual’s core, constitutional foundations. This is not to say that the elected official may not be fundamentally more conservative than liberals in perhaps other fiscal or social issues. However, a demonstrated unwillingness to stand by core constitutional principles cannot be lightly ignored as a predictor of what might occur when other constitutional rights are in the balance.

It is important for all citizens to remain vigilant as the collective masters of government. Representatives have been elected but they have been elected as fiduciaries and stewards not as masters. Our plight in this country is that too frequently citizens have abdicated the duty of the citizens to be ever vigilant over those who have been elected as representative agents. Citizens have been too willing to place these elected officials on the pedestal of Mount Olympus when in reality the better analogy should be the heart of a servant that is demonstrated in the New Testament. Sadly, citizens have been trained to bow to elected representatives rather than to monitor and communicate with them.

The selection of a Speaker of the House for the 107th General Assembly is critical. The federal government has exceeded its constitutional boundaries and those limits must be reclaimed and re-established by the states. The district maps for the next decade are about to be redrawn. Social services may have to bow to budget limits as state government must be restrained. Illegal immigration must be reduced. Government efficiency must be increased to accomplish more with fewer tax dollars. Constitutional rights must be restored and excess legislation must be repealed. These are not tasks for lukewarm compromisers on bedrock constitutional principles.

TFA does not generally endorse candidates. TFA exists as a grassroots organization to motiviate and educate citizens. It is important that you, as a citizen, accept the responsibilities attendant to your freedoms and learn what you can of these candidates and anticipate the blocking moves of those who have been defeated. It is important for you to take a position on which of these candidates (or any others that you may prefer) is best suited in your opinion to set the tone of the Tennessee House of Representatives for the next 2 years. It is important that you call your elected representatives and discuss this with them to make your preferences known and understood. As always, act with the decorum of a master who has delegated authority and responsibility to a steward. Be knowledgeable, kind yet firm.