Sunday, February 10, 2013

Senator Kelsey reportedly puts the brakes on all 2nd Amendment bills

In addition to the bill sponsored by Representative Joe Carr ( HB 0042/SB0100) which would make it illegal to enforce any new federal gun control laws in Tennessee and would require local law enforcement to arrest federal agents enforcing new federal guns laws, there are several other anti-gun control bills being considered by our State legislature.

Sen. Mae Beavers and Rep.Sheila Butt are sponsoring a bill (SB 0250 /  HB 0248 )which would  amend the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act of 2009  so that it nullifies any federal gun control measures as defined by the bill and would makes it an "offense for any person to knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce any federal action prohibited by this chapter relating to a state government, local government or civilian owned firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition." If anyone does, they will have committed a Class B felony.

The Beavers and Butts bill would not go as far as the Joe Carr bill and require local law enforcement to arrest federal agents enforcing federal law in Tennessee. Carr's bill is downright dangerous. Requiring local deputies to arrest ATF agents could lead to people getting killed. While the Beavers bill says it nullifies federal law, it does not require armed resistance to federal law enforcement, so I am not certain of the effect of her bill. Her bill may just be empty bombastic rhetoric that means nothing. While Carr's bill appears clearly unconstitutional, violating the supremacy clause of the Constitution, I don't know about Beaver's bill. It probably is constitutional. States are not required to enforce Federal law. There is a big difference between not enforcing Federal law and interfering with the enforcement of Federal law.

It has been reported that Sen. Kelsey, who this year replaced Mae Beavers as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has pulled from committee consideration the Beaver's bill which had been put on notice for consideration. He has put on hold the Beaver bill as well as all of these 2nd Amendment bills until after the Committee had gotten an opinion from the Attorney General as to their constitutionality. I have not independently confirmed this but assume it to be true.

That is a wise move. I commend Senator Kelsey. The Attorney General's opinion would not keep the bills from being considered or passed but at least our legislators would have at their disposal an informed opinion as to the constitutionality of the bills while they deliberate on them. I do not think most of our state legislators want to pass unconstitutional bills that could lead to armed conflict with the Federal government.

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