John Harris: State Lawmakers Are ‘Unimpressed’ with Gov Bill Lee’s Push for ‘Red Flag’ Gun Control Laws

Jun 28, 2023

Attorney, founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association, and Second Amendment expert John Harris joined The Tennessee Star Report’s Michael Patrick Leahy in studio Wednesday to discuss the upcoming special session proposed – but not yet formally called by – Gov. Bill Lee.


Michael Patrick Leahy: In studio right now, our very good friend, John Harris – founder and executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association.

The word of the day, John, is “clarity.”


Okay, so I made fun of Governor Lee for his clear-as-mud statement in regards to the release of the Covenant Killer’s Manifesto.

There’s no way you can understand exactly what he was trying to say there. It’s incomprehensible.

Now, let’s take that thought and put it aside for a moment.

The governor has stated publicly that he’s gonna call a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly on August 21st to deal with the issue of quote, “public safety” – translation: “red flag law” – to limit the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans.

He, I think, has used the same concept of “clarity” in developing the details of his proposal, and it’s not going over very well at all with members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

John Harris: Well, I would qualify that I think Justin Jones, Justin Pearson, Gloria Johnson – they’re exuberant. They love the idea because it’s like he’s standing in the well with them to, you know, disrupt the general assembly.

Michael Patrick Leahy: With his bullhorn.

There’s some clarity there in what they wanted, right? They wanted to incite a riot and pass gun control.

John Harris: Just like when he removed Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the capitol. He’s right on board with what Justin Jones wants to accomplish.

Michael Patrick Leahy: You get the impression that Justin Jones is whispering in the ear of Governor Bill Lee. And Bill Lee seems to, apparently, do whatever Justin Jones wants.

John Harris: He’s got, he’s got some influence.

Michael Patrick Leahy: I don’t know if it’s photographs or just like-mindedness, but they’ve got, I think, it’s like-mindedness.

But again, so one of the objections – and by the way, there is a particular legal mechanism that the governor’s supposed to do here. He’s gotta put a proclamation, which says the topic, and under the constitution of the state, the governor has a right to call a special session.

John Harris: Having a right and exercising it judiciously are two different things though.

Michael Patrick Leahy: No kidding.

So there have been various red flag law proposals that he’s floated out there. And I think they have the same clarity as his public statements about, you know, the release of the Covenant Killer’s Manifesto.

You’ve interviewed a lot of members of the Tennessee General Assembly.

They are unimpressed, right?

John Harris: They are very unimpressed.

The Tennessee Firearms Association is actively interviewing, usually in eight to ten-minute segments, members of the general assembly.

And we’re basically asking them three questions.

We tell them what the questions are in advance; we just let them answer the questions.

There’s not a debate, no cross-exam. It’s just, “here are the questions.”

What are your responses? And we’re posting all of those on our main website and then also to our YouTube channel.

But to a person – so far – none of them have supported the proposed red flag law, or what he rebrands – using Jack Johnson’s terminology – as a “temporary mental health order of protection.”

Michael Patrick Leahy: Okay. So there are huge problems with such proposals. And I think you mentioned that a number of the county mayors have expressed some of their reservations about that.

John Harris: In talking with one of the state legislators, the information we’re getting back is the county governments are a little concerned about any kind of red flag law because they’re the ones that would have to implement it and support it,

Michael Patrick Leahy: Make it happen.

And if the law lacks clarity, they will have problems implementing it, as well.

John Harris: And it appears that they’re more interested like Nashville and doing something about guns being left in cars, or guns being stolen from cars.

Michael Patrick Leahy:  And that’s a real big problem.

John Harris: That is, that is a big issue.

And there are solutions that are out there that wouldn’t violate the Second Amendment on that topic, but there’s no way to pass a red flag law that doesn’t run into the constitutional problems, now, under the Bruin decision.

Michael Patrick Leahy: And therein lies the problem.

When we come back, John, this will be the first time for you. Our very good friend, Neil w McCabe, with One American News Network, will be with us on the newsmaker line.

This is the Tennessee Star Report. I’m Michael Patrick Leahy. He’s John Harris.

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Bill Lee” by Bill Lee.