TFA Founder John Harris Explains Why Red Flag Laws Violate the Second Amendment

Apr 17, 2023

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 Tennessee Firearms Associations John Harris in studio to explain the meaning of red flag laws and Tennessee leaders’ misinterpretation of ‘well-regulated’ as it pertains to the Second Amendment.

Leahy: It is my great pleasure to introduce to our microphones in studio today my very good friend for many years, the founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association and a top-flight attorney here in the state of Tennessee, Mr. John Harris. Good morning, John.

Harris: Good morning. Glad to be here.

Leahy: And I also have to mention that John, along with Claudia Henneberry and I co-wrote The Star News Digital Media Guide to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students. We wrote that about six years ago.

Harris: It’s been several years.

Leahy: It’s been a while. Yeah. Since we wrote that. And John, to borrow a phrase from former President Ronald Reagan, there they go again. They’re trying to do it. They’re trying to jam through red flag laws and it’s completely inexplicable to me why Governor Bill Lee thought it would be a good idea with three weeks left in this session of the Tennessee General Assembly to introduce a major bill, usually you do that at the beginning of a session, obviously in response to the expulsion brew, ha ha, and caving to political pressure. Basically, he’s introducing a red flag law. Tell our listing audience what a red flag law is and why it’s a bad deal.

Harris: Yes, a red flag law is a generic term, but it stands for any type of system where you give the government the ability to go out and seize an individual’s firearms and essentially put them on a do not sell list for government holders.

And the biggest part of the problem, and frequently there are a number of problems. But one is that these red flag laws almost always are implemented in an ex parte fashion, which means that some government officials are running around behind the scenes gathering information and securing a court order without ever giving the individual notice that they’re trying to do that.

Leahy: And so the problem is going to be if somebody doesn’t like me and they can run around behind my back and get a court order to prohibit me from owning a gun. And they can do that really for anybody. By the way, speaking of the Second Amendment, I’m just going to read it to you for the five millionth time.

It’s a beautiful sentence and it’s very clear it was passed and ratified in 1791. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That’s it. What’s not clear about shall not be infringed, John?

Harris: The problem is that Tennessee’s governors and our legislature don’t think that the Second Amendment applies to them, and they read that initial phrase well-regulated to mean that the government has the authority to create laws that restrict the access of the people to own or possess or even purchase guns.

We just had, as recently as two years ago, a House member Brandon Ogles who expressly said that in committee hearings that well-regulated gave them that authority. They clearly misread it as we talk in the Constitution book that well-regulated was intended to mean it is critical to the freedom that this nation is founded upon, that civilians own guns, and that they be well prepared to use them if necessary, like in the Battle of Athens, to stand up to our own government.

Just like the founders had done with England. So it’s completely the opposite of where they think that phrase was intended to lead us.

Leahy: We are in a bizarro opposite world these days, John.

Harris: Yes, we are.

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 Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “John Harris” by John Harris.