TFA’s John Harris: Gov. Bill Lee’s Last Minute Red Flag Law Proposal ‘A Really Stupid and Futile Gesture’ Going Nowhere

Apr 20, 2023

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 the Tennessee Firearms Association founder John Harris in studio to weigh on Governor Bill Lee’s intention to vote on a red flag law and call a special session if not passed.

Leahy: In the studio, John Harris, our good friend and founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association. John, a lot of people didn’t know this, but we had our microphones in the governor’s office yesterday.

Harris: Did you?

Leahy: We did. We had our microphones in the governor’s office yesterday.

Harris: Don’t tell Glenn Funk. (Laughs)

Leahy: And we had the conversation going on. And we had a conversation with the staffers and the governor about whether or not they should introduce this stupid red flag law, with three days less in the general session. And I know it might sound a little bit like a clip from Animal House, but this is really what we heard in the governor’s office yesterday with our microphones.

(Animal House clip plays)

In this case, I think we have to go all out. I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part. We’re just the guys to do it.

Leahy: That was Governor Lee’s plan. They were just some guys to do that stupid and futile gesture. But wait, there’s more! I’m hearing that if the Tennessee General Assembly doesn’t in the next two days pass this red flag law that the governor is trying to pretend is not a red flag law that when they adjourn, he will call them back to a special session just to deal with this stupid red flag law. How well is that playing with the Tennessee General Assembly?

Harris: It’s from my sources; I have heard the same rumor that there’s a risk if the General Assembly doesn’t get behind and support the governor or be team players with a RINO, that the option he has is to call them back in a special session, which they do not want.

They have made it perfectly clear and they’ve accelerated a bunch of stuff that they want to pass a budget and get out of here. And the threat may be something that will materialize, but it’s certainly something to try to put pressure on them to take his red flag law seriously and pass it in due haste.

Leahy: And so is Governor Lee actually a Democrat operative, because, let’s think about the, how this narrative is going to play out. Already, Joe Biden has spent a political career demonizing the good residents of the state of Tennessee. Remember he did that when we had the protest in Williamson County.

Harris: Right. Absolutely.

Leahy: About what’s going on with Critical Race Theory in the schools. He despises the people of Tennessee. This is very clear, and he wants to demonize them. He’s invited these the two who were expelled, plus Gloria Johnson, who should have been expelled but wasn’t expelled.

And then the speaker caved and let them back in when he could have easily not let them back in because of the way that state Constitution is. So they’re going to be in the White House next week.

And so you know what Biden’s going to say? He’s gonna say even the Republican governor there wants you to pass to basically get rid of the Second Amendment. They need to do it because otherwise, they’re mean and evil. How stupid is our governor when he is doing this?

Harris: That’s a great question and it’s almost something that you could put on a first-grader’s multiple-choice exam. And they would all get it right. Because first off, even if Covenant hadn’t happened, this kind of change has such constitutional ramifications. It never should be filed without thorough vetting to begin with.

Leahy: And there was no thorough vetting, as you wrote in your op-ed that we just published yesterday. Governor Bill Lee Calls for an Unconstitutional Red Flag in the Last Days of Legislative Session. By the way, it’s very popular at The Tennessee Star.

Harris: Is it? Excellent.

Leahy: The first critical flaw with Governor Lee’s proposal is that it is completely devoid of any details or information to show. It meets the constitutional threshold requirements established by the U.S. Supreme Court in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen decided last year.

Harris: Exactly. And that’s a critical component because, unlike a lot of other areas of the law, This is an area that deals uniquely with the only item of personal property that’s expressly mentioned in the United States Constitution as being beyond the scope of government regulation. There’s no other item.

Not even the Bible is referenced in the Constitution as being at this level of protection. The second thing is the United States Supreme Court, because of the atrocities of the lower courts over the last number of years, has clearly established a new standard for judging the constitutionality of government activity.

And that new standard requires that the burden be on the government when it proposes a regulation like this to show that a law of this type was part of the national historical tradition as of 1791.

Leahy: And let me just add here. In 1791, the Second Amendment part of the 10 Amendments to the Bill of Rights was ratified. Let me read the Second Amendment. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s one sentence. 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.

Harris: And apparently, that’s too complicated a concept for our governor or his staff to grasp at this point. But clearly, what Bruen and the Supreme Court said is the burden is on him. The burden is on the government to show before you ever get to the question of due process that this type of law is a category of law that existed at the time.

The Second Amendment was adopted and ratified in 1791. He’s made no effort. And surprisingly, we had been writing that warning sign on the TFA’s press releases and materials for at least a week in advance, which was a necessary condition precedent to any proposed legislation. It can’t be that he was ignorant or that his staff was ignorant because we know who’s opening our emails.

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 “Bill Lee” by Bill Lee.