Founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association John Harris Talks Supreme Court on Gun Restrictions, Special License, and Good Cause
Live from Music Row Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed John Harris, founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association, in-studio to weigh in on the Supreme Court’s decision to throw out a century-old law that would restrict gun ownership and require special licensing.
Leahy: We are joined in-studio by the original star panelist, Crom Carmichael, and by our good friend, co-author of the Guide to the Constitution Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students, along with me. You and I and Claudia Henneberry wrote that.
Harris: Several of us.
Leahy: And by the way, it is the textbook used in the National Constitution Bee. We’re going to have another National Constitution Bee in October in Brentwood.
This will be our 6th annual. And we’ve got some kids that have won those Constitution Bees that have done great things. One of them, Cooper Moran, actually writes for The Tennessee Star now, and is about to become a first-year law student at the University of Alabama.
Leahy: On a full ride. How about that?
Harris: That’s something.
Leahy: Another one, our very first winner of the national Constitution Bee, Noah Farley, our very first winner, is about to enroll as a first-year law student at Columbia Law School. How about that?
Leahy: And we have another, Jackson Carter, who is a student at the University of Alabama running for the school board in Maury County, and I think he’s unopposed.
And then Braden Farley who won this past year got a scholarship, a full ride to Grove City College. So we’ve helped a lot of kids.
And the winner gets a $10,000 educational scholarship on that. And thanks so much for writing on the Second Amendment. You wrote a couple of chapters.
Harris: Second amendment and the 14th.
Leahy: Now let’s go back to New York State. I don’t know, I say New York State was a wonderful place to grow up, and it’s a wonderful place to get out of. Upstate New York, beautiful in the summer, cold in the winter, very nice people.
But back in the ’70s, it sort of got overtaken by the unions, and got overtaken by left-wing ideology and left-wing politicians, and the huge influence of the state government to kind of put regulations on everybody.
So the Supreme Court basically threw out this almost century-old law that would restrict who could get a gun, you had to get a special license. What was the term you used, to show good cause?
Harris: It will show good cause. It was a compelling need beyond just I want one.
Leahy: So the Supreme Court makes this decision, then they pass another law. Then the left-wing governor, who, if you can believe this, Kathy Hochul, she’s worse than Andrew Cuomo. (Harris chuckles)
Carmichael: Hard to believe.
Leahy: Hard to believe Crom, that somebody could be worse than Andrew Cuomo. She’s worse. And so they passed this law now that if you want to get a gun in New York, you got to give them all your social media passwords.
Harris: Oh, they’ve gone nuts.
Leahy: That’s nuts!
Harris: If a lower court doesn’t read that brewing decision and strike that down immediately, they didn’t read very well, what [Justice] Thomas said.
Leahy: What’s going to happen on that?
Harris: There’ll be an injunction go down almost immediately, I think, to prohibit them from enforcing that.
Leahy: But that’s the attitude, isn’t it, among the authoritarian left? Is that what we have right now?
Harris: Well, to some extent, the authoritarian middle, across the nation. One thing that came up, the TFA filed an amicus brief.
Leahy: Tennessee Firearms Association. By the way, you founded that group when?
Harris: In 1995. So I’ve been doing this 28 years.
Leahy: 1995. Wow.
Harris: It’s a part-time volunteer gig that I support through my law office.
Leahy: Basically, it’s John Harris funding the defense of the Second Amendment. A lot of friends help out.
Leahy: We do very well.
Harris: Our PAC is up to about $130,000. For a grassroots PAC, that’s pretty strong. And we’ve got some really strong financial supporters that stand up.
Leahy: Oh, good. So it’s just not you paying for everything.
Harris: Oh, no, I mean, I’ll give you an example. Lee Beaman has been a cornerstone for us when we’ve needed to work the political realm.
Leahy: Let me just stop for a moment. We all know Lee. What a great guy.
Harris: No doubt.
Leahy: He’s very successful in business and has been such a great, stalwart conservative and supporter of conservative causes in the state of Tennessee, Crom for what, 40 years?
Carmichael: At least.
Leahy: At least. And steadfast. If you’re a conservative and even if you come under fire, Lee Beaman is there to back you.
Harris: And across the spectrum. It’s not just one issue.
Leahy: And just a great person. In fact, just will say that he was the, well, back to the launch of The Tennessee Star. There were two people that stepped up and wrote checks for the first quarter of advertising when we launched The Tennessee Star in February of 2017. One of them sitting right across the table from me right now, John Harris.
Harris: In my conference room.
Leahy: In your conference room. You wrote the first check and then one hour later, Lee Beaman wrote us a check for Beaman Automotive, and at the time they owned it. That’s how we got started. Crom.
Carmichael: Well, I didn’t know that.
Harris: Kickstarting in those days.
Leahy: It’s kickstarting, and you could do it back then. And interestingly enough, we talked about The Tennessee Star, and I think for five and a half years, I think it’s very clear that The Tennessee Star’s new site combined with the radio program here we do.
And now our new video newscast, our evening news update video, that we are the only conservative news outlet in the state. And I would say that probably most members of the Tennessee General Assembly read The Tennessee Star every day and listen to The Tennessee Star Report.
And we’ve been able to succeed because a couple of conservatives in the state, Lee Beaman and John Harris gave us our start. So thank you for that, John.
Harris: I’m glad to do it then and glad to come on and support still.
Leahy: Let’s talk a little bit more about the Supreme Court, and some of these other decisions that went on.
Listen to the interview:
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