Senator Mae Beavers recently supplied a letter describing the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act passed earlier this year to the lead plaintiffs in a suit filed against the federal government, who in September claimed that both the Tennessee and Montana Firearms Freedom Acts were null and void. In the letter, Senator Beavers discussed the overwhelming support for this bill amongst the Tennessee General Assembly, with a total of only eight Senators and Representatives voting against the bill during session.
"In all my years as a legislator, I have never witnessed such staunch reproach of the federal government overstepping its constitutional authority and encroaching on my state's ability to govern itself," said Beavers. "Tennesseans and Americans are fed up, and I am proud to have passed an actual bill that directly challenges the federal government's overregulation of intra-state matters. Enough resolutions have been filed...its time for the Supreme Court to re-address this issue and what better place to do it than with the 10th Amendment legislation that has recently been passed in Montana and Tennessee."
The Tennessee General Assembly passed the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act and it became law in late June. The law asserts that if a firearm and/or ammunition is made totally within the state of Tennessee, and stamped "Made in Tennessee," then the federal government has no jurisdiction over that item in any fashion so long as it remains in state and outside of interstate commerce. All state regulations applying to the possession of firearms in Tennessee would still be applicable and must be complied with. This legislation was proposed to prevent a federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress.
The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. The amendment was adopted after the Constitutional ratification process to emphasize the fact that the states remained individual and unique sovereignties. Unfortunately, some courts' interpretation of Congress' power implied by the commerce clause has been misconstrued to suggest its unlimited application to state regulation.
In addition to its passage in Montana, this law will be considered by at least thirty other states in upcoming legislative sessions. A link to the suit filed against the federal government by Montana organizations and citizens, as well as other information on the Firearms Freedom Act can be found at www.firearmsfreedomact.com.