Subject: Can gun owners expect Constitutional Carry from Bill Lee?

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January 2, 2019

Can gun owners expect Constitutional Carry from Bill Lee?

In just a few weeks, Bill Lee will become governor as the Haslam error ends. 

Haslam had promised Tennessee voters in 2010 when he first ran for governor that he would sign constitutional carry legislation.  At least, it was a suggestion that he would support it.  After eight years of seeing his administration oppose that legislation and many other pro-2nd Amendment bills, it is now beyond dispute that he, well, was not truthful with the voters. Once he got what he wanted (elected), he never pushed for the issue or even spoke positively about it again.

In 2018 the Republican primaries for governor were full.  One proven conservative was in the race - Sen. Mae Beavers.  However, she withdrew from the race when it was clear that the others were using personal fortunes to fund their election bids (yes, as in auction). 

That left primarily 4 candidates for governor in the Republican primary and a very divided party with various sectors supporting primarily 3 of the 4 candidates (Harwell never had a chance unless the other three were suddenly victims of the Clintons).  In the end, Bill Lee and his tractor campaign won.

As part of his campaign, Bill Lee ran pretty much a "feel sorry for me - my first wife died tragically" race to start.  He appeared at a TFA chapter meeting early on and said he would not support constitutional carry because his sheriff allegedly told him that constitutional carry was not a good idea.  By the way, Lee has recently named that sheriff, Jeff Long, to be in charge of the Department of Safety which oversees the handgun permitting program.

During his race, Lee released a "Newt Gingrich" sort of contract with Tennesseans.  He called it "Tenn for Tennessee."   Although we know he was specifically asked to include passage of constitutional carry in the contract, the closest he came was that he would "Defend Our Constitutional Liberties Without Compromise".  While it could include others, that should at least include the mostly frequently legislated constitutional liberty - the 2nd Amendment.  Bill Lee even had his contract with Tennesseans on his campaign website (which has evolved into his "party" website).

Now, like Haslam, the Ten for Tenn contract is gone!

Editors at the Tennessee Star are asking whether Lee has already breached the contract - and for good reason.  Let's start with almost every appointment he has made so far is of individuals who are known Establishment Republicans - those who are not well known or respected in the conservative base.

If you look at BillLee.com you will not find the contract or any reference to it.  You will find his new list of "priorities" however.  As the Tennessee Star notes, 7 of the 10 specific "contract topics" that Lee promised to voters that he would have as priorities have disappeared from his new list of priorities.  Indeed, the new list of priorities are the same watered down, vague talking points that most Establishment RINOs throw out whenever they have the camera, the microphone or when they think that "two or more are gathered in their name".   

Those of you will recall that TFA refused to endorse any candidate in the Republican 2018 primary for governor other than Mae Beavers.  That had to do with whether any of the others had credible positions on the 2nd Amendment (or histories to back up what they said).  Certainly, Lee waffled on the issue.  However, there is strong evidence that his first reply - that one early in the campaign - is the truthful one (if there was truth at all).  That is, that he does not think its a good idea and frankly he is not going to do anything to help pass it.  Certainly, appointing the sheriff who told him it was a bad idea to the state agency that oversees the handgun permit program is a move adverse to constitutional carry, not one in support of it.

So, if Tennesseans want constitutional carry - as so many other states have enacted while Tennesseans remain "infringed" - then Tennesseans are going to need to aggressively raise the stakes and demand it. 


TFA Members support of the Bump Stock Litigation

As previously reported, TFA has been in contact with Gun Owners of America, speaking directly with Erich Pratt, about the lawsuit that GOA has filed over the ATF's new regulations attempting to change the definition of a machinegun in order to ban an accessory, potentially any accessory, that allows the shooter to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm. 

It is important to note that under this new move by the ATF whether the firearm (typically an AR15) to which the bumpstock is or has been attached might also be classified as a "machinegun" and be subject to forfeiture.

TFA is committed to donating funds to GOA to help cover the costs of litigation. Many TFA members have donated in the last week.  TFA plans to send a check to GOA next week so you still have a few days to chip in, as a TFA member, on the effort. Member donations can be made online at


If you make a donation please put the phrase #NeverATF in the comments field.

Please note - TFA will at least double the amount of funds contributed by TFA members for this special project.  So, every dollar you can provide will at least double the effort!

(Note: This opportunity is directed only at TFA members. If you are not a member, you can join and then become eligible to participate. The reason that this requirement is made is that the Republican controlled State of Tennessee currently prohibits nonprofits such as TFA from raising money from non-members unless the organization registers also as a "charity". Registering as a charity under TN law allows the state to audit your records, review and obtain your member lists and to prohibit political contributions or activities. TFA told the state to "pound sand" and therefore only makes requests for donations to its members.)

John Harris
Executive Director

Joining and supporting TFA is an investment in the fight to restore our constitutional rights and to fight against politicians who are willing to sell their votes and your rights to whichever business interest gives them the most money!


TFA Website: www.tennesseefirearms.com
TFA PAC: www.tfalac.org
Facebook TFA Page: www.facebook.com/Tennfirearms/
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Twitter: @Tennfirearms


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