Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Should the TFA sue Knoxville over its banning handgun permit holders at the Knoxville Fair?

The Tennessee Firearms Association is considering suing the the City of Knoxville over its banning handgun permit holders from Chilhowee Park in during the Tennessee Valley Fair.

Would you support the TFA in a lawsuit?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Trump Position Paper on Second Amendment

Donald Trump has released a position paper on the Second Amendment. On April 10, 2015, I asked Trump about national reciprocity.

Here was was answer :

It looks like he totally looked into that. Here is his position paper:


Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms
The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Tennessee Valley Fair gun ban controversy continues

In today's Knoxville News-Sentinel is a story comparing the "park/non-park" status of Chilhowee Park and World's Fair Park.

As I told the KNS reporter, Hugh Willett:
The city of Knoxville’s assertion that Chilhowee Park is not a park while World’s Fair Park is a park rings hollow, said Liston Matthews of the Tennessee Firearms Association. “On page 6 of the Tennessee Valley Fair Guidebook, Mayor Rogero calls Chilhowee Park a park,Matthews said.

“This year marks the fair’s 96th year, and we are proud this takes place at the City’s own Chilhowee Park. For more than a century, this park has been a mecca for public recreation and entertainment. You might notice some park improvements this year ...” Rogero wrote in the guidebook.

Matthews said, “Then her legal team declares it is not a park. So, it was a park, then it wasn’t a park. Chilhowee Park is managed by the City’s Public Assembly Facilities Department and World’s Fair Park is managed by the Public Building Authority. Neither of those is Parks and Recreation, yet one manages a park that’s not a park and the other manages a park that is a park,” he said.

The City keeps saying, "That'll do pig," but firearm civil rights advocates will continue to call them out.

To paraphrase more lines from the movie Babe:


A free people will never be satisfied with that answer.

In case you missed it, here are links to my interviews with the three local TV stations:

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Sheepdog or porcupine? Or both?

You may have heard of the Sheep, Sheepdog,  and Wolf classifications of people from Lt.Col. David Grossman. In it, he likens most people to sheep, with the predators of society being the wolves, and, obviously, the sheepdogs who watch out for the sheep. From his essay:

. . . there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep. . . I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. . . There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial. . .
I heard a gentleman call in to Tom Gresham's Guntalk several years ago who likened himself to a porcupine. Note that the porcupine never bothers anyone. He just goes about his business, but, if attacked, he asks permission from no one, he just employs his natural weapons and defends himself.

Wise defensive instructors will caution you to be careful about interjecting yourself into someone else's problem. You don't always know the whole story, and could be attempting to help the wrong person. The pensive porcupine in me views that as good advice.

But . . . .

Thursday, September 10, 2015

KNOXVILLE indicating it will IGNORE state law - URGENT CALL TO ACTION!

September 10, 2015

KNOXVILLE indicating it will IGNORE state law that allows handgun permit holders to carry in public parks!

The Tennessee Valley Fair has notified the public that the fair is posted, stating on page two of their Fair Guidebook: "Please note: no weapons of any kind are permitted at Chilhowee Park. All entrants are subject to search. . ." 

Chilhowee Park is owned by the City of Knoxville.  State of Tennessee now prohibits by law the City from regulating the possession of firearms in local parks based on a law passed in 2015 that is now in effect.

The Tennessee Attorney General issued a formal opinion concluding that a local government may not ban handgun permit holders from carrying their handguns in the public parks (with a limited exception that is not relevant to the fair).  Further, the AG concluded that the state law now prohibits an event that rents or uses the public park from banning firearms in the park.

Tennessee Firearms Association member Liston Matthews has been in contact with Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, who referred him to the Executive Director of the Fair, Scott Suchomski.  Mr. Suchomski clearly stated his unwillingness to modify the Fair's policy despite applicable state law.  This places permitted citizens at risk of arrest if they attempt to enter Chilhowee Park with their lawfully carried handgun.

Interestingly, it may also place at risk the City of Knoxville, Knox County and/or the Fair and their respective decision makes at risk of being sued for violating the civil rights of handgun permit holders under color of state law.

Please call and email your state senator, state representative, Governor Bill Haslam, Mayor Madeline Rogero, and City Law Director Charles Swanson.
Call on them to require the Tennessee Valley Fair to comply with state law since they are operating in a city park. Tell them you worked too hard to get this law passed for it to be ignored, possibly subjecting lawful permit holders to unlawful arrest.

Contact information:

Governor Bill Haslam

Mayor Madeline Rogero
(865) 215-2040

City Law Director Charles Swanson
(865) 215-2050

Go to this website and enter your street address to get the contact information for your senator and representative. Enter your street address and city to get their email addresses:


Click on their picture to get their phone number.

This same problem is arising in Memphis, Nashville and now Knoxville.  It is clear that these local governments are intentionally ignoring state law and apparently no one in the Haslam administration is going to step in to enforce state law, to investigate potential wholesale civil rights violations or to even seek a court order to enforce state law!

Even if you are not impacted by the Knoxville actions - it is an issue that should concern you and that must be attacked as a statewide affront to our rights as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment!  So, no matter what part of the state you are in - call and demand that state law be enforced and that our civil rights be honored!
You can join the Tennessee Firearms Association today to support this and other battles across the state!

In the fight for our Liberty

John Harris
TFA Volunteer Executive Director

P.S. Consider making a contribution to the TFALAC (TFA’s PAC) at donate.tfalac.org. These funds are used to help men and women who support the 2nd Amendment retain or win Senate and House seats.

Tennessee Firearms Association is a IRS Section 501(c)(4) advocacy entity and is not a charity. Tennessee Firearms Association Legislative Action Committee is a state political action committee. Contributions to TFALAC are not tax deductible for IRS purposes.

Monday, September 7, 2015

USA Today promoting bearing of arms?

The media and press have, generally speaking, a long history of opposition to gun ownership and particularly the bearing of guns (arms). This has been especially true of the national media. A sailor might even say they have a decided list to port.*

For example, in news stories, you see and hear references to gun violence and gunman, but have you ever heard a reporter refer to car violence, carman, knive violence, knifeman, fist violence, fistman, Club violence or clubman? Hardly! Granted, when they quote a police charge, they might say, vehicular homicide.

On the editorial pages, you will see a majority of editorials calling for some sort of gun control, with the occasional bone thrown to lawful gun ownership, such as the USA Today editorial by Erich Pratt.

Imagine my surprise,