Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Joe Carr's attempt to make enforcement of Federal Law a Crime

Representative Joe Carr
Press Release, Lascassas, TN. - State Representative Joe Carr, from Tennessee’s 48th District filed legislation Tuesday, House Bill 0042, that would charge any Federal agent with a Class A Misdemeanor for enforcing or attempting to enforce a federal law, statute, rule, regulation or executive order that bans, restricts or requires the registration of any semi automatic firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition.

“In light of recent comments and actions taken by President Obama and Vice President Biden, I believe it is necessary that Tennessee proactively promote, maintain and defend Tennessee’s sovereignty guaranteed to it in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. Additionally this most blatant assault on the 2nd Amendment by the Obama Administration is a systematic effort to disarm the law biding citizens of the United States. The 2nd Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights which was intended to protect the individual and the states from the tyranny of government,” stated Representative Carr.

Carr also said, “The 2nd Amendment is not meant just for hunters, it specifically states that ‘A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed’, therefore, the Federal government shall not through law or executive order infringe upon our Constitutional-given rights as citizens of the United States and the Great State of Tennessee.”

Recently, Carr announced the formation of the 10th Amendment Caucus, a group he co-founded with State Representative Judd Matheny from Tennessee’s 47th District. The Caucus will be focused on advancing the Constitutional requirement for states to maintain, promote and defend the 10th Amendment. Additionally, Carr is the architect and author of almost all Illegal Immigration laws in Tennessee. Due to his efforts, Tennessee has some of the strongest enforceable immigration laws in the United States.

My Comment: I understand Joe Carr's fear that given the current climate that the Second Amendment may be trampled upon, but I think his approach for dealing with this fear is the wrong approach. 

I am not a constitutional scholar or even a lawyer, but I have read the Constitution. Article VI, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution is known as the Supremacy Clause and it says, "This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." 

While I think the 10th Amendment should be respected and protected, I do not think we can ignore the "supremacy clause" or the "due and proper clause" or the 14th Amendment. They are also part of the constitution.

What I take the supremacy clause to  mean is that if Congress passes a law that bans semi-automatic weapons that, that is the supreme law of the land, at least until the Supreme Court rules otherwise. The Second Amendment has been adjudicated on several occasions but is still murky as to what may be a legal weapon to be owned by civilians and what may not be. A ban on fully automatic weapons and other instruments of war such as tanks and flame throwers is presumed to be a legal ban. If one thinks a ban on semi-automatic weapons is unconstitutional and Congress should reimpose such a ban, then the proper course of action for making that argument is in the Courts.  I am still open to hearing other arguments but unless a compelling argument is made and if I were in the State Legislature, I would not support Joe Carr's legislation. I do not want Barney arresting federal marshals for enforcing laws passed by Congress. 

One thing that is curious about Joe Carr's legislation is that those enforcing the federal law in Tennessee would be guilty only of a Class A misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class A misdemeanor is "not greater than eleven (11) months twenty-nine (29) days in jail or a fine not to exceed two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or both, unless otherwise provided by statute." If Carr really wants to deter Federal agents from enforcing the law in Tennessee, why does he not propose making doing so a Class A felony?  I may be missing something. I would welcome an explanation of the logic behind this proposed legislation.

For a concise explanation of the Courts ruling on the Second Amendment follow this link

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