NASHVILLE, Tenn. (FEB. 17, 2015) – Two bills filed last week in Tennessee would effectively block a proposed new ATF ban on the popular M855 AR-15 round and other federal gun control measures within the state. The bills make the state the tenth to consider such legislation so far this year.
Introduced by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver and Sen. Richard Briggs, House Bill 1341 (HB1341) and Senate Bill 1110 (SB1110), prohibit the state from carrying Uncle Sam’s water by implementing or enforcing federal gun “laws,” rules, regulations and orders.
If passed, Tennessee law would be amended by adding the following as a new section:
(a) On or after July 1, 2015, no public funds of this state, or any political subdivision of this state, shall be allocated to the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule, or regulation regulating the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.
(b) On or after July 1, 2015, no personnel or property of this state, or any political subdivision of this state, shall be allocated to the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule, or regulation regulating the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
This is because a vast majority of federal enforcement actions are either led or supported by law enforcement – and other agencies – on a state level. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”
“A partnership doesn’t work too well when one side stops working,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control schemes, the states can effectively bring them down.”
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL
Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.
The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:
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.
As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now 20 years old and considered well settled.”
Introduction comes at a time when several other states are considering similar bills, building momentum and support for the effort to block federal gun control at the state level. Similar bills have already been filed for 2015 in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina and New Hampshire and several more states are expected to do the same. Since 2013, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas have already passed into law legislation that pushes back at federal gun control measures with this same strategy.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In Tennessee: Follow the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK
ALL OTHER STATES:
Urge your state rep and senator to introduce a similar bill. Start here
- Ohio Bill Takes on all Federal Attempts to Implement More Gun Control - February 12, 2016
- Gun Control and the Constitution: There are No Exceptions to “Shall Not Be Infringed” - October 27, 2015
- Kentucky Bill Would Nullify All Federal Gun Control - October 12, 2015