A bill recently introduced in the Tennessee legislature would bar enforcement of any federal gun laws in the Volunteer State.

Sen. Mae Beavers (R – Mt. Juliet) introduced SB1607 on Jan. 14. The bill declares that any firearm, ammunition or firearm accessory present in Tennessee does not rightfully fall under federal regulation. It goes on to declare any federal enactment of federal enforcement action relating to firearms void in the state, and prohibits any state cooperation with such actions.

No public official, employee, or agent of this state or any of its political subdivisions shall act, aid, or otherwise cooperate to impose, collect, enforce, or effectuate any fine, penalty, or other federal enactment or federal enforcement action in this state.

The legislation includes penalties, declaring that “It is an offense to knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce any federal enactment or to further assist any federal enforcement action,” making violations a class A misdemeanor.

Other provisions in the bill empower the attorney general to prosecute violations and allow citizens to bring a civil suit for damages under the law.

State refusal to cooperate with acts violating the Second Amendment would render them virtually null and void in practice, especially if multiple states pass similar bills. The federal government depends on state and local agents to do just about everything. If enough states simply refuse to lift a finger to help the feds, it would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce,” as Judge Napolitano has said.

And states don’t have to cooperate under the well-established anti-commandeering doctrine. Even the Supreme Court agrees that the federal government cannot require, compel or coerce state agencies to cooperate in the implementation or enforcement of federal laws or programs. Four Supreme Court cases serve as the foundation of the anti-commandeering doctrine, with Printz v. US as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case-by-case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”

Even without the Second Amendment, the federal government lacks the authority to regulate firearms within the borders of a state. The Constitution does not delegate this power to the federal government; therefore it remains with the states and the people.

Secondly, the language of the amendment itself defines much greater restriction on federal power. “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Infringev: Act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on.

The federal government may not constitutionally act in a way that even limits the right to keep and bear arms.

This bill not only protects the individual right to keep and bear arms in Tennessee, it also protects and defends the Constitution.


If you live in Tennessee: Take steps to support SB1607 HERE.

Other States:  Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation.  Model bills and contact info HERE.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

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