A statewide group that aims to promote the right to bear arms has set a goal of doubling its membership in 2015.
The Tennessee Firearms Association (TFA) currently has 15 chapters across the state, which they say work to educate people about the Second Amendment, and work to ensure that state legislators continue to support gun rights.
This year, they’re hoping to increase their membership by 10,000 people by expanding to 30 chapters across the state, including adding a chapter in the Tri-Cities.
TFA Field Director Jeff Hartline says the organization’s responsibility is making sure the state government understands the Bill of Rights.
“We want to make sure that at the state level, the men and women who represent Tennesseans in our state House and in our state Senate, understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment,” Hartline said.
“Criminals love unarmed victims, and the government loves unarmed citizens. And I think that its our right to defend ourselves,” said Michelle Denise, who is interested in joining the TFA.
Denise said she thinks having a TFA chapter in Northeast Tennessee will help citizens protect their rights.
“If you get in a situation where crime is involved, there may not be a policeman or a fireman or someone there to help you and its your responsibility to protect yourself,” she said.
The TFA also works to lobby against legislators that vote against pro-gun laws in the General Assembly.
“People need to be informed about what’s going on in their own government, the government is there to represent the people and not do whatever they feel like doing,” said Keith Nichols, who is also looking to join the group.
“We want to make sure that we’ve got an educated, engaged, voting block out there who can make their voices known to their state senators to their state representatives, and if they’re not listening, then they can be replaced,” Hartline said.
Hartline says he hopes that by starting a chapter in the Tri-Cities, local lawmakers will be more tuned in to the conversation.
The nearest chapter to the Tri-Cities currently is in Knoxville.Copyright WJHL 2015. All rights reserved.