On Monday, both chambers of the Tennessee General Assembly voted to pass a bill that would block the state from participating in the implementation and enforcement of federal gun control measures that violate Tennessee’s Constitution. The Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center notes that the proposal, SB 1110, was sponsored by State Senator Richard Briggs, and its House companion bill, HB 1341, was introduced by State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver. Now that SB 1110 has passed through the Tennessee legislature, it is headed to Governor Haslam’s desk for consideration. Haslam has 10 days to consider the bill, after which time it automatically becomes law unless he chooses to veto it.
The bill’s summary states, “No public funds, personnel, or property may be used to enforce any federal law or regulation that regulates the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearms accessories, if the expenditure or use of the personnel or property would result in the violation of another Tennessee statute, Tennessee common law, or the Constitution of Tennessee.”
The Tennessee Firearms Association pointed out the fact that the Tennessee Constitution “does not mention the ‘militia’ when it speaks of the right to keep, bear, and wear arms. It speaks of the individual rights of the citizens of this state to keep, bear and wear arms.”
Bill sponsor and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver said, “I’m from the cut that there is no need for Washington DC to be the end all and be all with regards to the regulatory world… We should respect our 10th Amendment and shift the power back to the states and that’s what House Bill 1341 does.”
Michael Boldin at the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center wrote, “In practice, this would have a significant impact on any proposals to implement an ammunition or other ban with or without the consent of Congress. The way this could play out, said [constitutional scholar Dave Kopel] in a recent report, is that if the federal government were to ban or further restrict any firearms, and then a local cop pulled someone over for a traffic violation and saw that firearm in the car, the cop could simply give the guy a ticket for the traffic violation and send him on his way.”
The proposal to block federal gun control measures prevailed unanimously in the Tennessee Senate and by a vote of 74 to 20 in the state’s House of Representatives.