Tennessee lawmakers will consider a bill during the current legislative session that would strengthen the Firearms Freedom Act of 2009 and protect Volunteer State residents from any unconstitutional federal regulation of firearms.
Signed into law by Gov. Phil Bredesen, the Firearms Freedom Act of 2009 exempted firearms manufactured and kept within the borders of Tennessee from federal regulation based on the reserved state powers to regulate intrastate commerce. SB 0250 and its companion bill HB 0248 take things a step further.
“The general assembly declares that any federal action prohibited by this chapter relating to firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition, whether made in Tennessee or not, is not authorized by the United States constitution and violates the restrictions contained therein and is hereby declared to be invalid in this state; that said federal action shall not be recognized by this state; and that said federal action is rejected by this state and shall be null and void and of no effect in this state.”
Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey says the bills rest on a solid constitutional footing.
“The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to regulate firearms. Period. Furthermore, the Second Amendment makes it clear that D.C. lacks the authority to infringe – meaning to limit or undermine – the right to keep and bear arms. Any action the federal government takes to regulate firearms is illegal, null, void and of no force by definition,” he said. “James Madison said that when the federal government oversteps its authority, it is not only a state’s right, but its duty to ‘interpose for arresting the progress of the evil,’ and maintain federal power within its respective limits.”
Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep. Sheila Butt introduced the bills Tuesday. Based in part on model legislation written by the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center and endorsed by the Tennessee Firearms Association, the proposed bill would make any federal attempts to ban firearms or accessories, to require federal registration impose taxes, fees or charges on firearms a class B felony. The legislation also sets up legal remedies for any Tennessean facing federal gun charges.
Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center state director Lesley Swann said people need to understand that unconstitutional acts break the highest law of the land – the Constitution. People who willfully violate the Constitution commit a crime, no different than a robber or a rapist. She called passage of the bill paramount.
“This bill is critical to protect Tennesseans and their natural right to keep and bear arms. The right to life and the right to defend that life are among the most basic human rights. When the feds attempt to thwart basic natural rights, it is stepping into the realm of evil,” she said. “As Daniel Webster said, interposing between their citizens and arbitrary power ‘are among the objects for which the State governments exist.’”
Contact: Lesley Swann, state coordinator
Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center