The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) released its 2018 state legislature and gubernatorial candidate surveys on Friday.
TFA executive director John Harris told The Tennessee Star that many candidates provided responses that were less than fully forthcoming.
“A lot of candidates tell us, or put in their literature, that they are strong or reliable on the Second Amendment. But they don’t respond when we ask them specific questions about where they stand,” Harris said.
“We sent the survey to all state legislative and gubernatorial candidates of all parties that registered with the State Election Commission to run in the August primary elections,” he added.
“Just under 400 surveys were sent out. We got back about 70,” Harris noted
None of the major gubernatorial candidates from either party responded to the specific questions asked in the survey, Harris said.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee responded with a two page letter that did not address the questions in the survey, but asserted that he supports the Second Amendment, Harris noted.
“That tells us all the major gubernatorial candidates of both parties say they are strong or good on the Second Amendment, but they won’t answer specific questions,” Harris added.
As for the 70 state legislature candidates who responded to the TFA survey, Harris said responses covered a spectrum from strong support to lack of specificity.
“We have a handful of strong supporters among those 70 legislative candidate respondents, but many of the other responses were not consistently strong on specific Second Amendment issues,” Harris added.
Rather than give “ratings” or “endorsements” which can be misleading and/or influenced by inappropriate factors, the TFA is releasing both a copy of the blank survey that was sent to the candidates as well as a response spreadsheet.
TFA tabulated the responses into a spreadsheet. This response shows an “S” for support under each question that the candidate answered with an unqualified supportive answer. If the candidate did not answer the question or the answer was negative, then the response is blank to indicate a negative response and make the grid easier to identify positive responses. Once again, a candidate that did not return his or her survey is presumed to have answered in the negative on all questions. Further, any candidate who refuses to answer a survey disclosing in writing what they do or do not support should be cautiously avoided.
TFA has scanned all original candidate responses in the event a candidate wishes to challenge the tabulations. TFA does not plan, at this time, to post the individual scanned responses online.
All of the documentation can be found here.