Montgomery Co TFA Meeting, Dec 20, 2016 [Link]
Just last month, on November 8, the people of Tennessee and indeed almost the entire country revolted against the establishment government through the overwhelming support and election of Donald Trump. This was based largely on his candid declaration that it was time to “drain the swamp” and “make America great again” and the peoples’ realization that their trust had been repeatedly betrayed by both parties.
As the presidential election results became clear, elitists in both parties saw their predictions of a Clinton presidency proven wrong. Indeed, Bill Halsam, Beth Harwell and others in the elite leadership of the State GOP refused to support Trump’s revolutionary train. And, these are the “leaders” in Tennessee – leaders who are out of step with almost all of the state’s voters?
Both of Trump’s slogans apply with equal force and purpose to Tennessee’s state government and many of its local governments. Tennessee’s government leaders have created an undesirable swamp and Tennessee needs to be made great again.
TFA knows that every bit of the success in 2016 to protect the constitution by defeating Clinton was because of the support of good folks like you. But, do you realize that after the elections Tennessee’s governor and legislature are in many respects still controlled by individuals who have proven track records of ignoring the state and federal constitutions. Of ignoring your rights. Of ignoring your voice!
Despite that, I need to ask you to keep up the determination that elected Donald Trump and to help ensure that the success nationally on election night wasn’t wasted. We need to double down on those in Tennessee’s government who have shown by their actions that they place numerous things – power and money included – ahead of the Constitutional rights asof Tennesseans. I need to ask you to join or renew your membership in Tennessee Firearms Association right away.
It’s time to insist that the self-described “pro-Second Amendment” elected officials that Tennesseans voted into office feel the heat when they resume their same old stunts of trying to weasel out of their promises to us regarding our rights. There can be no doubt after the last 6 years that the GOP leaders are going to try and derail efforts in 2017 to pass constitutional carry and the elimination of gun free zones in Tennessee.
Tennesseans deserve to be ranked number 1 in the nation when it comes to our gun laws. However, more than 20% of the states have already adopted constitutional carry. More than 60% of the states have already adopted permitless open carry. Their citizens are not “taxed” by a state government that demands your money just to exercise a constitutional right.
Why should Tennesseans have to “pay to play” when it comes to the 2nd Amendment?
So it’s time to insist on IMMEDIATE passage of:
*** Full Constitutional Carry – you should not have to pay a fee to the state or submit to state background checks or needless state training in order to exercise a fundamental right. Tennesseans should not be denied a fundamental right unless they go through a bunch of bureaucratic hurdles or adding their name to a government database.
In other words, if you legally possess the firearm, you should be legally allowed to carry it in Tennessee. PERIOD.
Indeed, Constitutional carry is clearly the trend all over the country. In just the last two years, Kansas, Maine, Idaho, West Virginia, Mississippi and even in neighboring Missouri enacted constitutional carry laws. In Maine, it passed with a Democrat held State House. In Missouri and West Virginia, it passed with a Democratic Governor!
Yet, it Tennessee it was defeated over the last several years despite a so-called Republican Governor and a super-majority of Republicans in the Legislature.
There is no just reason why Tennessee’s super majority of “Republicans” have failed to pass it in the last 6 years.
*** Elimination of “gun free zones”. There are no credible studies which prove that creating or maintaining “gun free zones” makes us safer. To the contrary, all the credible evidence and news reports prove that gun free zones are nothing more than killing fields for terrorists and the mentally ill – just as we saw in Chattanooga and in other venues across the nation.
Sure, we might agree that a jail or a prison probably should be a gun free zone but what about all the other places that our myopic government continues to protect as gun free zones? There should be almost 0% of the real estate in the State that is “gun free” and the legislature has had the power for 6 years to fix that problem but it has failed or in most instances refused to do so. Why?
*** Commercial Property Liability. While many would argue that private property owners should be able to restrict firearms on their own properties, the State can and should balance any such right with making commercial property owners liable for the safety of their employees and guests if the property owner does ban firearms.
Tennessee’s legislature should pass a law that imposes a duty on commercial and business property owners to adequately protect their employees and customers if they decide to ban firearms on their properties. They can start by making such property owners liable if permit holders are hurt while disarmed going to or from and while on their properties.
*** Real Self Defense Immunity. Florida has perhaps one of the strongest self-defense immunity laws in the nation. Tennessee certainly does not.
In Tennessee, the idea of “self defense” is a technical defense that must be raised to a criminal charge of illegal use of force. That means, if you are forced to use a firearm to defend your family, you can still be arrested, criminally prosecuted and forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees just to prove that it was a justifiable self-defense shooting. And, you don’t get reimbursed by the State if you do prove it was self-defense.
Then, there is the issue (recall O.J. Simpson) of being sued in civil court even if you are found in a criminal court to have acted in self-defense.
Tennessee needs a much stronger self defense immunity law and we are working on the language of it to make it even stronger than Florida’s!!!
*** Public Properties. As a result of a patchwork of amendments over the last 2 decades, it is almost impossible for gun owners to know which public properties or buildings are “gun free”.
Indeed, one of the most frustrating laws came from Republicans when they were trying to free the public parks from local governments that closed them to gun owners. What the Republicans unfortunately did was to allow public parks to “instantly morph” into “school grounds” under circumstances when a school is using the park for athletic purposes. When that happens, the park suddenly flips from a place open to permit holders to place classified as a school where it could be a class E felony for a permit holder to remain in the park – even if the permit holder does not know that the park is being used by a school. That is just wrong – unless you are voting on the legislative floors.
These are just a few of the issues that must be addressed even after 6 years of control by a super majority of Republicans.
Your personal and financial support is critical to continuing to work on these issues.
I simply can not begin to explain how important your support is.
In my 20+ years of working with the Tennessee legislature, it has become clear – particularly after the last 6 years – that legislators do not reward people just because they are nice or say please. Legislators, at least some of them, do not prioritize bills that fix constitutional problems. Too many legislators – and legislative leaders in particular – focus first on bills that help out their financial contributors like Federal Express, AT&T, Amazon, essentially, the Chamber of Commerce….
Now, don’t get me wrong. We have some legislators who, like Senator Mae Beavers, Sen. Mark Green, Sen. Kerry Roberts, Sen. Mike Bell, Sen. Frank Nicely and Representatives like Micah Van Huss, Courtney Rogers, Mark Pody, Judd Matheny, and others who are willing to be the constitutional stewards that they campaigned to be, but there are too few of these to get the job done when they are up against a leadership that has other, misplaced priorities.
What we now know is that nothing ever moves – particularly issues as “vague” and “unimportant” as constitutional rights – unless it’s pushed and pushed hard by the voters.
The victories we saw on election night will be wasted if we don’t translate them into pro-gun reforms. So now it’s time to push — and push HARD.
Legislators – at least the bad ones – are not going to stop playing games. They are not going to stop trying to weasel out of their campaign promises. They are not going to “get the constitution” and start prioritizing legislation to restore your rights.
They are not going to suddenly stop being politicians and turn into the public stewards that they asked to elect them to be.
That is why we have to be as tough and as engaged as ever. We have to make sure they know that we will not rest until we get what we want. They have to know we are willing to hold them accountable to their oaths and promises. They have to know we are willing to expose them and replace them until we get enough stewards in office who take the constitution and their oaths seriously.
You are a critical part of sending that message. You’re a critical part of the Tennessee Firearms Association’s winning team.
You see, this organization isn’t run or funded by some out of state gazillionaire like our governor who worked to take away your right to vote for judges and whose priorities are to expand ObamaCare and increase the gas tax in Tennessee.
TFA was founded by Second Amendment supporters just like you. It is run by volunteers who are hardcore Second Amendment supporters just like you.
And it’s funded by Second Amendment supporters just like you.
In a world of organizations promising wins and delivering nothing, the Tennessee Firearms Association has proven that it can deliver and it has proven that it is willing to stand with the constitution and against elected officials who are nothing more than the stooges of Big Business and Big Government.
Now, TFA is counting on you to help keep this winning streak going.
TFA Executive Director
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