Tennessee – -(Ammoland.com)- The state and federal constitutions protect a right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms. The constitutions do not create the right – they protect a preexisting right. This fact is addressed in detail in an article by John Harris, TFA's executive director and a co-author on parts of the Tennessee Star's constitution series.
In this election cycle, almost everyone running for any public office likes to say that they believe in the 2nd Amendment, that they have the “endorsements” of some organization, or they show photos of themselves in camo, shooting at a range, or holding perhaps some hunting firearm.
But that is not what the 2nd Amendment is about and if these people want to claim to defend and understand the 2nd Amendment then they should be expected to understand it.
The 2nd Amendment is broad enough to cover the possession and ownership of hunting weapons, but it is first and foremost a political right to protect the ability of citizens individually and collectively to own and possess weapons suitable for military service.
Have you heard any of the candidates say that? Mae Beavers did! I have also heard Mark Green say it! But what about the others? Not often if at all and perhaps none of the candidates for governor, Congress, or major state offices say or believe it either.
While some talk about their handguns or their hunting longarms, few talk about true 2nd Amendment arms.
The Tennessee Supreme Court has correctly held that “arms” as used in the constitutional context are just that – weapons that would be useful for military service of individuals.
“As the object for which the right to keep and bear arms is secured is of a general nature, to be exercised by the people in a body for their common defense, so the arms–the right to keep which is secured–are such as are usually employed in civilized warfare, and constitute the ordinary military equipment. If the citizens have these arms in their hands, they are prepared in the best possible manner, to repel any encroachments upon their rights by those in authority.”
Andrews v. State, 50 Tenn. 165, 184-85 (1871) quoting from its earlier opinion in Aymette v. State, 2 Hum., 158.
Even the United States Department of Justice has argued to the United States Supreme Court that the 2nd Amendment protects civilian ownership of military grade weapons in its brief in United States v. Miller (1939)
While some courts have said that the right to bear arms includes the right of the individual to have them for the protection of his person and property as well as the right of the people to bear them collectively (People v. Brown, 253 Mich. 537; State v. Duke, 42 Tex. 455), the cases are unanimous in holding that the term “arms” as used in constitutional provisions refers only to those weapons which are ordinarily used for military or public defense purposes and does not relate to those weapons which are commonly used by criminals.
As you consider your options and prepare to vote, ignore the mud slinging ads and perhaps “quid pro quo” endorsements. Look at the specific voting histories. Look at what they actually do. Look at what they say when they are pressed on the topic.
Also, realize that a candidates true understanding and willingness to protect the true meaning and purpose of the 2nd Amendment may be a strong indicator of whether they are a capable, principled public steward. If the candidate is right on such a difficult concept in today's “politically correct” environment, it is likely that they are going to be equally correct and trustworthy on other core constitutional and core conservative issues such as state's rights, the proper size of government, the wrong of excess government growth and taxation, closing the borders, fighting illegal immigration and facilitators and so many more critical issues.
On the other hand, someone who is lukewarm on the 2nd Amendment or tells you they are strong because they have a permit or they wear camo likely does not truly understand the constitution purpose of the 2nd Amendment. If not, can they truly be expected to defend and uphold any of it?
TFALAC and Tennessee Firearms Association conduct surveys of candidates for state office as part of its vetting process. You can view the survey questions and responses online — 2018 Survey Response.
Tennessee Firearms Association and TFALAC seldom actually endorse a candidate. When it does its a rare event. However, TFALAC does provide some financial assistance to candidates that it believes are more likely to improve the laws on the 2nd Amendment issues or that it feels can defeat incumbents who have proven that they should not be in public office. The complete list of candidates to whom financial contributions have been distributed has been published on the TFA's website and also on the TFALAC's website.
Tennessee Firearms Association and TFALAC are not making any contributions to nor otherwise supporting any candidate for governor in 2018. None of them have a strong, demonstrated history of standing firm to protect the rights recognized and protected by the 2nd Amendment.
About Tennessee Firearms Association
To learn more about the Tennessee Firearms Association or the political action committee, neither of which are affiliated with nor approved by an candidate or candidate committee, you can visit their websites at:
www.tennesseefirearms.com or www.tfalac.org
Joining and supporting TFA and/or TFALAC is an investment in the fight to restore our constitutional rights and in the 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/
Facebook TFA Group: www.facebook.com/groups/TennesseeFirearms/