A Middle Tennessee firearms trainer who made an ominous comment about killing people in a YouTube video that gained national attention this week has had his handgun carry permit suspended Friday by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

James Yeager, 42, had his permit suspended based on a "material likelihood of risk of harm to the public," the department said in a statement.

Col. Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Department of Safety said it didn't take him long to reach a decision after viewing the comments on the Internet.

"I watched it twice to make sure I was hearing what I thought I heard," Trott said.

"It sounded like it was a veiled threat against the whole public. I believed him. He had a conviction in his voice, and the way he looked into the camera, I believe he's capable of a violent act," Trott said.

Yeager told Channel 4 News he is aware of the suspension, and his attorney will handle his statements going forward.

The department said Yeager has the right to seek a review of the decision.

Yeager posted a new video Friday night in which he appears with his attorney and apologizes for his prior comments.

"In another video I said some pretty volatile stuff, which I apologize for. I do not - in any way - advocate overthrowing the United States government. Nor do I condone violent actions toward any elected officials," Yeager said.

Man's YouTube video gains national attention

James Yeager is a man with an impressive resume, including time as a small-town police chief and serving in security in Baghdad, but he said he spoke in anger when he made the video.

"I'm telling you, if that happens, it's going to spark a civil war, and I'll be glad to fire the first shot," Yeager said in a video on his YouTube page.

He was reacting to a recent comment from Vice President Joe Biden that the Obama administration may take executive action to pass control measures.

"I'm not going to let anyone take my guns. If it goes one inch further, I'm going to start killing people," he said in the YouTube video.

Yeager pulled the comments from YouTube after receiving backlash, and he said Thursday he didn't mean what he said.

"I was angry when I made the video and probably should have metered my words better. I am not plotting to kill any officials or anything like that," Yeager told Channel 4 News.

Yeager runs Tactical Response, a training center in Camden, TN, that specializes in weapons and tactical skills. The door of the business notes the staff is trained to kill.

The well-armed clientele was already making neighbors at the strip mall nervous, and then they heard the video.

"The guy needs to chill it. You know, you make those threats, and you've said that and now you come around the wrong person, you get hurt like that," said John Eaker, who owns a nearby pawn shop.

"He may get more than he asks if he keeps running that yak on the Internet, you know," another neighbor said.

Yeager said he knows he's considered a radical in his views, but he's is not backing off comments that he will defend his right to bear arms in spite of getting death threats by email.

"It will be time to shoot people when the Constitution is set on fire," he told Channel 4 News. "If somebody comes to take my guns, I will shoot them."

According the Tennessee Department of Safety, Yeager is not a certified instructor. When asked about that, he said he allowed his license to expire.

The state also said Tactical Response is not a department-certified school.

Yeager served as police chief of the town of Big Sandy, TN, about a decade ago. The former mayor said Yeager is intelligent and a crack shot, but he thought Yeager's plan to start a SWAT team wasn't what the quiet town of 500 people really needed, so the mayor fired him.

Despite the threatening emails and phone calls, Yeager said he has received far more messages of support.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.



Nancy Amons is an award-winning member of the News4 Investigates team. She has been breaking stories in Middle Tennessee for more than 20 years.

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