Jeff Hartline of the TFA Says ‘A Policy Should Not be Crafted on the Basis of the Morning Headlines’


In a specific discussion Wednesday 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 am to 8:00 am – Leahy welcomed in-studio guest Development Director of the Tennessee Firearms Association Jeff Hartline to the show to speak on the Second Amendment and Walmart’s decision to stop selling certain rifles and ammunition in their retail outlets.

Nearing the end of the second segment, the men dissected the Second Amendment citing TFA Director John Harris’s interpretation of the amendment. Hartline urged the listeners not to let policy be crafted on the basis of the morning headlines and states, “Legislators and people who are responsible for organizing our culture need to craft policy on the basis of years, decades, and centuries of watching how people behave.”

Leahy:  So we are in the studio now with our good friend Jeff Hartline. Jeff welcome to the Tennessee Star Report on 98.3 and 1510 WLAC. You’re with the Tennessee Firearms Association.

Hartline: Exactly. Delighted to be here with you Michael representing constitutionally minded gun owners all across Tennessee and the nation as well.

Leahy: Let’s begin this with, and by the way, I’m going to read from Star News Digital Media, Guide to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for Secondary Students. It’s co-authored by me, yours truly, Claudia Henneberry and the founder of the Tennessee Firearms Association, President John Harris.

There’s a chapter here on the second amendment that John Harris wrote. It’s really outstanding. We got really good comments on it from Professor John Kaminski, he did the fact-checking, who’s the director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Study of the American Constitution.

I know it’s a left-wing university but they were honest and they said this was really a great book. So John Harris the head of the Tennessee Firearms Association wrote the chapter on the second amendment. I’m just going to read it for our listeners.

It’s very clear. Here’s the second amendment to the constitution of the United States that was ratified on December 15, 1791. Very simple. “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.” So, I look at all this stuff Jeff, and what strikes me is this phrase, “shall not be infringed.” Yeah, that’s pretty clear, isn’t it?

Hartline: It’s incredibly clear. What you have here is a document that was designed by people who had just moved through the tyranny of the highest magnitude where their homes were being seized. Where their commerce was being affected.

Where their citizens were being taken on the high seas. Where efforts were being made to tax them without their consent. And of course the final straw was the effort of the British regulars, 800 of them to march to Lexington to conquer to seize arms and powder.

Leahy: Yeah. Jeff, I’m glad you pointed that out.  This whole thing started with the shot heard around the world.  And it was at Lexington.

Hartline: April 19, 1775.

Leahy: So the British were marching by land. Eight Hundred of them. To go to Concord because there were ammunition and guns were filed in a battery there. And they wanted to confiscate those.

Hartline: That’s exactly right.

Leahy: And at Lexington the British kind of rolled through the citizens standing on the green. But by the time they got to Concord. Different story.

Hartline: As stated in the new book, The British are Coming which I’m in the process of reading. You’re exactly right. They rolled through Lexington with little resistance. But by the time they got to Concord, over 10,000 individuals had mustered from farms and shops all across Massachusetts and met the British and chased them all the way back to Boston.

And had the British commander not made a decision to go across an area that he had previously decided to go, they would have been wiped out. And the war might have been over at that point.

(Commercial break) 

Leahy: It just so happens Jeff that our lead story today at the today. There’s a statement from John Harris who’s the executive director of the Tennessee Firearms Association. He’s basically highly critical of Walmart’s increasing anti-gun stance. There’s a report yesterday that Walmart officials have announced that they will limit the sale of guns and ammunition at their stores. The stores will discontinue sales of certain types of rifle ammunition. Jeff, what’s going on with Walmart?

Hartline: What’s going on with Walmart is that Sam Walton is deceased and his liberal children are now running the company. (Leahy chuckles) That’s what’s going on.

Leahy: Jeff isn’t that a rule of life that what happens is, you have a first-generation. Maybe very successful business guy. Typically conservative in many aspects. And they become a billionaire because they’re so successful. And then their kids and their grandkids they turn out to be liberals.

They didn’t fight the war. They didn’t fight the war that old granddad had to fight in order to make a success out of themselves. I will say I guess the real winners here are individual entrepreneurial gun stores all over the country.

Leahy: See. I thought the same thing. So, if Walmart now, ammunition and various guns you can’t buy. They also said we don’t want you to open carry. Because you know open carry is so bad. The Walmart down in El Paso that had the shooting incident was in a gun-free zone. So, in other words, they seem to want to say, “Hey, here we are.”

Hartline: Well, if we’re waiting on Walmart to defend your second amendment rights you’re going to waste your time. And even more so as the years roll on. If you’re waiting for the NRA to defend your second amendment rights you’re going to be disappointed. You need to get with an organization that understands what the second amendment is all about.

Leahy: It’s interesting you mention the NRA because generally, they’re the big dog on second amendment rights. A lot of controversy surrounding them of late. But here, I’ve noticed a lot of states have their own state organizations. I know the various states like Ohio and others there are some state-based groups. My observation is across the country, the Tennessee Firearms Association is the strongest and most pro-second amendment state-based group that I’ve seen. Would you say that is correct?

Hartline: It’s absolutely correct and that’s because John Harris who founded this organization about 23 years ago understands what the second amendment is. It’s not about hunting. It’s not about sport shooting. It’s not even about personal self-defense.

It’s about allowing citizens the right to be able to push back against a tyrannical government. One has to understand the context of the group of men who wrote the constitution. Who understood the importance of the second amendment. Remember, contextually these guys were against the standing Army. They believed that the Army was the citizen.

Leahy: The militia.

Hartline: It just about cost us in the War of 1812.

Leahy: John Harris wrote one chapter of our Guide to the Constitution and Bill of Rights for Secondary School Students on the second amendment. It’s chapter 11. Let me just read from it Jeff and then you can sort of go off and explain in more detail. This is chapter 11 of our textbook on the constitution and the bill of rights.

The second amendment. It’s meaning and purposes go by John Harris. John writes, “The second amendment declares that people have a right to keep and bear arms. That right is not created by the second amendment but is recognized to naturally exist independent of the constitution.

The purpose of the second amendment is to make clear that the federal government lacks any authority to restrict or infringe that individual right. The right is not just the right of the individual to own arms that are suitable for hunting, self-defense, recreational shooting, or collecting.

Although each of those is within its scope. The second amendment much like the first amendment also exists to protect a political right and the political power that was essential to the founding of this nation as indicated in the declaration of independence.” John Harris.

Hartline: That’s exactly right. Far be it from me to try to improve upon on John’s analysis of the second amendment. I will say this for our listeners. Remember, a policy should not be crafted on the basis of the morning headlines. (Leahy laughs) Walmart can respond to that. But legislators and people who are responsible for organizing our culture need to craft policy on the basis of years, decades, and centuries of watching how people behave. All our listeners need to understand is that when these folks in Venezuela came to power, the first thing they did was confiscate all the firearms from individuals.

Leahy: So they can’t fight back. That’s the whole purpose of the second amendment.

Hartline: That’s exactly the purpose of the second amendment. So you don’t craft policy based on the headlines. And remember, all of us who live in Tennessee history did not start the day we were born. There is history back behind us. If you want to understand the context of the second amendment, all you need to know is, reading the other ones where you can’t go in and take people’s things without due process. That’s where these Red Flag laws run against the constitution.

Leahy: That’s the big thing. Red Flag laws. Red Flag laws. Everybody’s pushing that on the left right?

Hartline: It’s like we’re going to protect culture. I don’t’ want to have to depend on other people for my own protection. I want to be responsible for that. I want responsible, armed, law-abiding citizens to be responsible for their own protection. The second amendment prohibits the federal government from restricting our ability to do that.

Listen to the full hour:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Jeff Hartline” by Jeff Hartline. Background Photo “Tennessee Firearms Association” by Tennessee Firearms Association. 




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3 Thoughts to “Jeff Hartline of the TFA Says ‘A Policy Should Not be Crafted on the Basis of the Morning Headlines’”

  1. Pissed Off Nashvillian

    I certainly think we SHOULD go armed when shopping at Walmart or Kroger. Have you seen the scum loitering on the property? I’d suggest a flamethrower over a pistol though.

  2. Sherrie G Orange

    Great interview, Jeff Hartline

  3. Ralph

    The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is not a “right” – it is an absolute denial of the state to infringe upon a natural right to self-defense. In this particular instance, to defend oneself, individually and collectively, against tyranny, but nonetheless self-defense in the larger sense of the term.

    The “right” to self-defend is one we are endowed with by our Creator; every creature – animal, plant, even a microbe – has a “right” to defend itself, it is in our “nature” hence the term, “natural right.”

    We, as sentient members of a polite society, agree that there are limits necessary to function as a polite society but, at its core, our natural rights cannot be denied, hence “inalienable” – no power other than the Creator can put a “lien” against that right with which we are endowed.

    Once someone comes to peace with that reality, they will see that it is not man’s prerogative to deny another man his right to defend himself, individually and collectively. If a man commits a crime against another man, or society at large, he has a “right” to defend himself against those charges. There is a defined “process” to which he is “due” and he is “presumed innocent” until otherwise determined by a jury of his peers, and then only after presentment of evidence and impartial evaluation of that evidence, including the “rightfulness” of the law itself, hence jury nullification.

    So-called red flag laws are no less than a rebellion against the Creator who endowed us with those natural rights. They are an abomination against nature, not unlike deciding to alter your biological sex. Absurd and offensive. Offensive to nature, and offensive to the system of jurisprudence we have consented to.

    The National Rifle Association was formed in the aftermath of the War of Northern Aggression, due to the appalling state of civilian marksmanship. It only became embroiled in the Second Amendment in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s out of necessity – it was never organized specifically to do that. The Gun Owners of America, however, a much more recently formed organization, was. In fact, it was formed in response to the NRA’s shortcomings in that regard.

    Until such time that these organizations themselves come to some accommodation with each other, recognize each other’s specific expertise and ability and then “stay in their lane”, I wouldn’t recommend you give them a dime.

    As for Wal Mart, they are a publicly-owned company. If their majority shareholders agree that no one shall enter one of their properties carrying a firearm, that is their right as property owners. It does not infringe upon my right to shop elsewhere, which I most hardily DO recommend. Remember too, that Kroger, and it’s department store Fred Meyer, took a similar stance some years earlier.

    Simply act according to your conscience on these matters.