Founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association John Harris Talks Supreme Court on Gun Restrictions, Special License, and Good Cause

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.

Harris: Congratulations.

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?

Harris: Excellent.

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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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.


Crom Carmichael Explains How Gun Laws Today Are Those of Jim Crow

Crom Carmichael Explains How Gun Laws Today Are Those of Jim Crow


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 the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio who outlined the convoluted gun requirements to obtaining a firearm in certain blue states while making it harder for lower-income people to own, and how these resemble Jim Crow voting laws from the past.

(Maxine Waters clip plays)

Leahy: That is Representative Maxine Waters, who is Black and who is a Democrat and was up in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, the site of the second police shooting of a young Black man or the shooting of a young Black man who was resisting arrest and sounds like inciting violence to me. In Florida Ron DeSantis doesn’t like that kind of idea Crom.

Carmichael: What Maxine Waters said there was, we need to stay in the streets, correct?

Leahy: That is what she said. Now, the Constitution allows us to peaceably, assemble to address the government with our grievances. That’s what the Constitution allows. What Ron DeSantis and the Republicans in Florida have done is they’ve passed legislation that essentially says that if your protest turns to intimidation that is by definition of their law, not peaceful.

And so mostly peaceful in Florida won’t fly anymore. And if it’s two or more people, two or more people. I remember seeing videos, for example, of all the riots all over the country. But I also saw videos in Washington, D.C., outside of the Capitol, where you had some protesters, and they were just like the protesters in so many cities across the country that were acting intimidatingly against the Capitol Hill police. In Florida that will be an arrestable offense. That will be a felony, not a misdemeanor.

Leahy: There’s no state law, apparently that addresses that in Minnesota although there are certain constitutional elements to it. Here’s the story about Waters, from Breitbart. Waters in her remarks to reporters, that a protest in Brooklyn Center, where thousands have been protesting the death of Daunte Wright encouraged people to ‘take to the streets if Chauvin (Derk Chauvin the officer charged with, I think second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd back in May) we’re looking for a guilty verdict,’ Waters said.

‘And we are looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place. And after they saw what happened to George Floyd, if nothing does happen, then we know that we’ve got to not only stay in the street, but we’ve got to fight for justice.’ That’s what she said. That sounds like inciting violence to me.

Carmichael: Sure does. I would like to compare that to anything that Trump said. Trump didn’t say anything like that.

Leahy: Nothing like that.

Carmichael: And they’re claiming that Trump said this. But if I could, Michael, let me do a Jen Psaki here and circle back.

Leahy: Jen Psaki, the incompetent Press Secretary for Joe Biden.

Carmichael: No, she’s actually quite competent. She just provides zero information. She’s very competent. She does have information. She does exactly what the Biden administration wants her to do.

Leahy: Which is to give no information.

Carmichael: Which is to provide nothing. But anyway, let me give you some more information. We’ve talked about this previously, the Jim Crow laws. First of all the Jim Crow laws were passed post-Civil War by the Democrats in the South. This is extremely important that we recognize as it was the Democrats in the South who passed the Jim Crow laws. What did the Jim Crow laws do? They did two primary things. Anyway, the two things: one is they imposed poll taxes to make it expensive to vote.

Leahy: Right.

Carmichael: And the other is they set up certain standards and certain procedures, things that you had to pass in order to have the right to vote. And those were disproportionate. They truly did subdue the Black vote.

Leahy: Absolutely.

Carmichael: Absolutely did that. Now, let’s look at Illinois, and let’s look at Indiana. Of the people in Illinois, less than have a firearm. In Indiana 20 percent have firearms. And in Indiana, the cost of applying for a firearm is $12. In Illinois, it’s $450. Democrats control Illinois. Are Democrats trying to keep low-income people from owning a firearm?

Leahy: From legally owning.

Carmichael: From legally owning. Great point. The violence in Illinois is terrible. The violence in Chicago is terrible. The people committing the violence, do not own legal guns.

Leahy: And there are usually illegal guns.

Carmichael: These are mostly illegal guns. And so in Illinois, it is the Democrats who are trying to have a poll tax as it were on the right on the right of self-protection. Now in Illinois, you have to have 16 hours of training. If you live in the city of Chicago, you have to drive a long long way away to get training. But you have to have 16 hours. And that’s also expensive because you have to pay for the training.

Leahy: Pay for the training.

Carmichael: But that means if you tried to do it in two full days, eight hours a day, you’d have to drive someplace and stay overnight. So what they’re doing is they’re making it as difficult as possible in Illinois for a low-income Black person in Chicago to own a gun.

Leahy: Legally.

Carmichael: Legally. That is the definition. What the Democrats are doing in Illinois to keep black people from protecting themselves is the essence of Jim Crow.

Leahy: It’s a Second Amendment suppression.

Carmichael: It is Second Amendment suppression. No question about that. But it is the tactics. It is the tactics that they’re using. They’re making it expensive, and they’re making it almost like you have to jump through all kinds of hoops. And the results are that Black people, especially in Chicago, the honest Black people, which is the vast majority they can’t afford the time or the money to protect themselves. And the police and the mayor simply aren’t able to do it. For whatever reason, they aren’t doing it. And so this is resulting in murder. This is resulting in death. And it’s all Jim Crow gun laws. Jim Crow Gun laws.

Leahy: You make a very fine point there, Crom.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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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.