Live from Music Row Thursday 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 Tennessee Firearms Association Director Richard Archie to the newsmaker line to discuss protecting Tennessee’s gun owners Second Amendment rights as it pertains to the Bruen case.
Leahy: It is a delight and a pleasure to welcome to our newsmaker line right now, a very good friend Richard Archie, who’s a director with the Tennessee Firearms Association. Good morning, Richard.
Archie: How are you doing today, Michael?
Leahy: Richard, we’ve known each other for many years. And you’re based in west Tennessee.
Archie: That is correct. I live over in Bells, Tennessee.
Leahy: What’s the population of Bells, Tennessee?
Archie: Bells has probably got about 4,000 people in it. Actually, like everything else that the government does, I live in Madison County, and Bells is in Crockett County. And so I have four different government agencies that provide stuff, and I get my water from one county. I get my electricity from another. My mail’s delivered out of Bells. But I live in Madison County. It’s the same mess that government does everywhere.
Leahy: Madison County is fixing to grow a lot with this taxpayer-subsidized Blue Oval out just right in your neck of the woods.
Archie: Actually no, it’s over in Brownsville, but we’re hoping that the effluent from that stuff will move over here, and our property values will go up. That’s what everybody’s hoping for.
And possibly you wind up with some ancillary businesses that will be constructed or brought in to help supply the boarding plant over in Brownsville. That’s in a totally different county.
Leahy: How far away is it from where you live?
Archie: 55 miles.
Leahy: 55, okay. So it, yes, it is quite a distance, a lot further away than I thought.
Archie: Money talks. And so that’s the whole hope of every person over here that’s got a piece of property has gotta sign up saying, welcome Blue Oval. What they’ll do is, because Jackson and Madison County have a lot more stuff to do, what’ll happen is folks with lots of money will move over here, and then they’ll drive over to Haywood. And work during the day and then come back over here. It’s a gamble. We’ll see what happens.
Leahy: You have been an officer with the Tennessee Firearms Association for about 20 years? How long you’ve been involved?
Archie: Yes. I’ve been with the Tennessee Firearms Association for 22 years. A director 20 years ago.
Leahy: I was pretty close. You work very closely with John Harris, the founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association.
Archie: I do. John and I speak probably two or three times a day every day. What people have to understand about the Tennessee Farms Association is we’re not like some of the national organizations that are out here looking for money for salaries because John and I are both volunteers. Neither one of us draws a dime from the organization as far as salary is concerned. I drive to Nashville two times.
I made this statement the other day to one of the highway patrolmen that was up there to show solidarity with the commissioner in a committee meeting. And I said I wonder what it cost me to pay for y’all to drive in here today? I have to pay for myself to come. It cost me roughly $60 for every trip that I make to the General Assembly in gas and Uber costs and parking and things like that.
And not only do I have to pay for mine, but I have to pay for theirs. And what they are doing under the auspices of the administration seeking to deny my constitutional rights. So I gotta pay for my ability to go up there and advocate for them, and I’ve gotta pay for theirs to come in and advocate against them.
Leahy: I will say this Richard, even though you’re carrying your own bill on this, you and John and Tennessee Firms Association have a long history of protecting the Second Amendment in the Tennessee General Assembly. And I think right now the argument is that the current law in the state of Tennessee, as passed by the Tennessee General Assembly and as signed by the governor does not protect the constitutional rights granted to Tennesseeans under the Tennessee Constitution and the U.S. Constitution with regards to firearms. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts on that.
Archie: It’s really simple. What the Bruen case, and everybody wants to throw the Bruen case out. Yesterday we had the head of the TBI come in.
Leahy: TBI is the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, and the Bruen case was a Supreme Court case, which basically said the state of New York did not have the right to put in a whole series of laws that prohibited the free exercise of the Second Amendment by residents of the State of New York.
It said that you couldn’t get a gun unless you had a whole bunch of testing and approvals that you got from various levels of government. The U.S. Supreme Court threw that out. That’s the Bruen.
Archie: Correct, and it does a number of things. It says, and they tried to parse this yesterday as going, hey, it was just about handguns. That’s all. But it was, that’s not what the Bruen case was about at all. It decided on a narrow scope in that case from New York. But what it said was that you have to go back and use Texan history on every issue of the Second Amendment, and that is the only thing that you can use for scrutiny.
And what we’ve seen past that is all these lower courts have already started ruling because of what Bruen has said in that. We just had one that was decided in February of this year in Oklahoma and here’s what the lower court said. No longer should lower courts evaluate firearms restrictions, deferring to the determinations of legislators.
Because while that judicial deference to legislative entrance balancing is understanding and elsewhere appropriate, it is not the difference that the Constitution demands. And while ends justify the means rationalization should generally be understood as antithetical to the rule of law, Bruen now leaves no doubt that such rationalizations have no place in our Second Amendment jurisprudence.
Leahy: What is it that the Tennessee Firearms Association wants to change about current Tennessee?
Archie: There are three things that I think are most necessary. We have what some call constitutional carry in Tennessee, but that’s not true. If you go back and look at the history of Tennessee as devout volunteers, you wouldn’t have a Republican Tennessee today if it were not for the over-mountain men who picked up their personal rifles and walked across the Allegheny and went over and shot Ferguson and his Tori’s at King’s Mountain.
George Washington said that we wouldn’t have a Republic if it weren’t for the Wild Bunch from over here where Tennessee is now of their own volition with their own personal long guns.
Leahy: At their own expense.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this 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.