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.


Engineered Tax Services CEO Julio Gonzalez Discusses His Company’s Mission and Trumped-Up Charges in New York

Engineered Tax Services CEO Julio Gonzalez Discusses His Company’s Mission and Trumped-Up Charges in New York


Live from Music Row Tuesday 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 Julio Gonzalez, CEO and founder of Engineered Tax Services to the newsmakers line to discuss his company’s assistance to small businesses and the tax charges facing the Trump organization in New York.

Leahy: We are joined on a newsmaker line by a very interesting guy, Julio Gonzalez, who is the founder of Engineered Tax Services and also is an expert on all of these efforts by New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney to kind of cook up a case against Donald Trump and his affiliates. Good morning, Julio. Thanks for joining us.

Gonzalez: Good morning! Thanks for having me.

Leahy: So, a national tax reform expert. About your bio, very interesting. You founded the Gonzalez Family Office. Typically, a family office manages wealth created by a family.

Did you create the wealth, or was it your dad or somebody else in your family that created that wealth?

Gonzalez: Yeah. I created the wealth. The first generation. My family escaped Cuba in ’58 and came here and gave me the opportunity to prosper in this great country.

Leahy: Wow! And how did you create that wealth?

Gonzalez: Today I have the largest tax credit firm in the country. We work with about 12,000 accounting firms, CPA firms, to make sure that their small business owners, their clients, get all the tax credits that all the big corporations and the Big Tech companies enjoy every day.

Leahy: So your clients are thousands of CPA firms, and you tell them how their clients can understand how to create and work the tax system properly.

Gonzalez: That’s what we try to do. Absolutely. We want to preserve all their clients’ wealth so they can continue to prosper and grow jobs and grow the economy.

Leahy: Well, what a great idea. How did you come up with this idea?

Gonzalez: I was doing that in the ’80s and ’90s for the big accounting world, and we were working with public companies.

And I realized that if you’re a smaller CPA, smaller accounting firm, you’re just not going to have those resources and that technical knowledge to help your small business clients.

So that’s what we did to try to start in 2001 being a resource to the accounting community to make sure that when their clients are investing in their businesses, that they get rewards.

Leahy: Man, I love your services. You have an office here in Nashville as well?

Gonzalez: We do. I was just in your town last week.

Leahy: Why didn’t you give me a call? We could have gone to lunch!

Gonzalez: (Chuckles) I had so much fun meeting with all the great people there in Nashville.

Leahy: That’s great. That’s fantastic. Did you get a CPA? Did you go to the University of Florida? Where did you go to college?

Gonzalez: Actually, I went to the University of Colorado, and got my degrees in accounting. And we now have over 800 employees nationwide that are working with our accounting firms and their small businesses.

Leahy: Where are you based?

Gonzalez: We’re based in Palm Beach, Florida.

Leahy: Oh, Yeah. I got to go visit you.

Gonzalez: Come visit. We’ll bring you over to Mara Lago.

Leahy: I will! It sounds like a lot of fun. I look at these trumped-up, excuse the pun there, trumped-up charges against the CFO of the Trump Organization brought by the attorney general of New York and the district attorney there.

And I’m saying this seems like a mundane tax matter. They’re saying, well, they should have declared fringe benefits income. Doesn’t it usually work where they send a letter off to the accountant and the accountant says, “oh, well, maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t. Here’s our case.” Is that how it usually works?

Gonzalez: That’s exactly right. How it always works is that the New York State Tax Department would review these returns.

They’re constantly on audit with the Trump Organization. And if they had any issue and they felt it was criminal, they would bring in the attorney general, and the attorney general would review it.

But this is not the case, right? It didn’t go from the department of tax over to the attorney general. The attorney general went and got these tax returns and then brought together a grand jury of nine people that know nothing about tax.

And they basically said, based on the facts of the attorney general, we have a crime. This never happens in my world.

Leahy: In my world as my friend Glenn Reynolds, the professor of constitutional law at the University of Tennessee, and also Instapundit. He calls it basically a grand jury would indict a ham sandwich if the information was brought by the district attorney.

That’s the case here. Do we live in a nation of laws, or do we live in a nation of left-wing ideologues who want to go after people they oppose politically?

Gonzalez: If you’re waking up in New York this week, it’s certainly the latter. I can’t imagine being a business owner or a CPA firm or an accounting firm in New York and think that everything I do now, even if it’s in sync with the law, could be scrutinized by the attorney general and could be put in front of a grand jury.

And we have the ham sandwich that’s convicted. I don’t know how you even do business there anymore.

Leahy: Let me tell you something. We’ve got here in Tennessee, we’ve got a company, The Star News Network, that I’m the CEO of.

We have news sites in eight states. Tennessee, The Tennessee Star and in Florida, The Florida Capital Star, and six other states. Now we were looking at maybe doing something in New York.

I’m never going into New York. I’m originally from Upstate New York. Why would I go up and open a business in New York when I know the left-wing ideologue attorney general is immediately going to open an investigation of me or anybody else who’s a conservative there?

Gonzalez: Exactly right. I’m sure when you grew up there, it was wonderful to be in New York. But look, I mean, now they have the highest tax rates.

They’re taxing everything. They’re coming up with new tax laws. And now the attorney general basically oversees the tax community.

And we see with this Trump Organization what I think is a prelude to something much bigger and that they’re going to do this to all the big corporations there.

And it’s not a good precedent. And I think that ultimately, it’s going to be very problematic.

And I got to think that there’s a lot of companies like yours that are like, “we want to be in New York. We’re looking at this. We’re looking at the high tax rates but we can’t.”

And by the way, and your state has been the big benefactor of what’s going on in New York because a lot of great companies have moved to Nashville and move down here to South Florida because they just can’t take the politics in New York anymore.

Leahy: Julio Gonzalez, the head of Engineered Tax Services, thanks for joining. On the web at  Thanks so much for joining us. Come back again, if you would please.

Gonzalez: My pleasure. Thank you.

Listen to the full first 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.
Photo “Julio Gonzalez” by Engineered Tax Services, Inc. 














Crom Carmichael Questions Why Democratic Politicians Employ Disincentive Policy and Think It’s a Good Idea

Crom Carmichael Questions Why Democratic Politicians Employ Disincentive Policy and Think It’s a Good Idea


Live from Music Row Wednesday 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 to break down the new proposed tax brackets for millionaires in New York as an example of the disincentivizing Democrat thought process.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by the original All-Star panelist Crom Carmichael. Crom, during the break we were talking about disincentive policies that other states are establishing that make it unnecessary for Tennessee to establish any incentives to bring anybody here because they’re being pushed our way.

Carmichael: Well, we’re going to use New York as the latest example of a state that is poorly run that is determined to be more poorly run. And here’s what they are doing in New York. New York is as of right now, the second-highest tax state in the country. California is the top. But here’s what they want to do. They want to increase the taxes on millionaires up to 11.

Now, this is just the state. The city itself has taxes of almost four percent. Three-point eight three percent on millionaires, but they want to raise it to 11.85 percent by raising taxes on filers earning 2.2 million to raise it to 8.82. Oh, excuse me. From that bracket to 9.85. Then earnings over 5 million would hit 10.85. Earnings over 25 million would hit 11.85. That’s on earnings. And they want to increase the tax on capital gains.

They want a surtax of one percent. Now they tax capital gains at income tax rates. So for people who are making over 25 million and they have capital gains, they’re not only going to see their capital gains taxes for the state go up to 11.85, the city would then be 3.88. And now there’s a surtax of one percent more. And I’m not done yet. (Leahy chuckles)

Leahy: I’m getting tired just listening to these taxes.

Carmichael: This is amazing. They want to raise the top rate on estate taxes too. Now, in Tennessee, for example, we don’t have a tax on estates like we used to. But because of Dr. Lauffler and his arguments, we did away with it. And Tennessee, as he predicted, benefited mightily from that. He also, by the way, and Beth Harwell were the driving force behind eliminating the Hall tax, which has also helped Tennessee. But I digress.

Leahy: The Hall tax was interest on income.

Carmichael: Then you have that they’re going to have a state-level on high-value second homes in New York City. So now they’re trying to destroy their real estate market by raising the tax from point three percent to four percent on homes value of over five million dollars. By the way, there’s been a letter signed by the leaders of Bank of America, Pfizer, Viacom, CBS, JP Morgan Chase, Jet Blue, Mastercard, Goldman, Sachs, Revlon, all saying to Andrew Cuomo, these are very very dumb ideas.

Has the press reported on these very very bad ideas versus these very, very dumb ideas versus Georgia’s very, very good ideas? Apparently, these woke CEOs who are saying that high taxes will destroy our state they don’t even merit news coverage. And now, in addition to that, the quality of life in New York and other big Democrat-run states is falling. The nine biggest cities are run by Democrats. Of the defund the police crowd, homicides are up in those nine cities by 68 percent. 68 percent.

And so the quality of life is falling. In Portland, the number of murders has gone from one to 20. In Austin, Texas, up 25 percent. In Philadelphia, up 25 percent. And so in other cities, it’s obviously up even more. And so you have the quality of life in New York going down the tubes and the cost of living in New York due to taxes going up. If you’re making more than $25 million, you can easily decide to move. That’s not hard.

Leahy: And these people are going to be moving to states like Tennessee, Texas, and Florida.

Carmichael: But when somebody making $25 million moves from the state, I’m just guessing off the top of my head this is a pure guess that for the average person in Tennessee, that requires 5,000 taxpayers to make up what that one person was paying. I’ll bet you at that high. In income taxes.

Leahy: In New York?

Carmichael: Yes, in New York. In other words, when one person making 25 million because they’re talking about taxing that person now, between the city and the state, they’re talking about taxing them 16 percent. And that doesn’t count their capital gains.

Leahy: Why Crom would any sane person who’s making a lot of money choose to live in New York State and pay all those increasing taxes? Well, when they could just call up U-Haul and point it South.

Carmichael: Yeah, well, that’s what they’re doing. And they’re doing that, and they’ll do it in even larger numbers. But then the question is, why do the politicians in those states do things that are essentially suicidal for their own state?

Leahy: Well, I’m fine with them doing these things, because that means it’s going to make Tennessee better.

Carmichael: But why do they do it?

Leahy: For conformity.

Carmichael: Yes. And their constituency is government employees.

Leahy: Not the residents.

Carmichael: Not the people who pay the taxes, but the people who consume the taxes.

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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.
Background Photo “New York State Capitol” by Shaunfrombrooklyn. CC BY-SA 4.0.