Monday, June 15, 2009

Thunderous news passes almost without notice.


A Tennessee Threeper made the journey all the way down to Bessemer Alabama to give me the word. Here it is, just two paragraphs buried in a larger story about guns in Tennessee parks.

The measure was one of two firearms bills to become law Friday. Bredesen also allowed the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act to pass into law without his signature.

The act asserts that the federal government cannot regulate guns that are made in Tennessee and never cross out of the state. The law is based on a "fringe constitutional theory" that will not stand up in courts, Bredesen said.

Yes, dear friends, Tennessee has joined Montana in throwing the gauntlet down at the Feds' feet.

Here is some home-grown Tennessee comment on it.

Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act To Pass Without Signature

By Kleinheider
June 12, 2009

Governor Phil Bredesen will not stand in the way of House Bill 1796. He will allow it to pass without his signature.

Bredesen, in a letter to Speaker Kent Williams, states that the bill which says that federal laws do not apply to firearms, accessories, or ammunition that is manufactured in Tennessee, will likely be found to be unconstitutional.

“This bill is not about firearms. It is about a fringe constitutional theory that I believe will be quickly dispensed with by the federal courts.

The Tennessee General Assembly lacks the Constitutional authority to limit the power and authority of federal government in this way…

…While I share the General Assembly’s commitment to federalism, this legislation contravenes our Constitution. I am allowing it to become law so that it can quickly be dealt with by the federal courts.”

Excuse me? What exactly is our governor saying here? I believe in federalism — except when the states really try to take real power back? I believe in federalism — but not for things like this?

What is unconstitutional about this? If a gun is made here and kept here what the heck business of the federal government is it? If Tennessee wants to make its own laws on firearms why is that bad and how is it unconstitutional?

Bredesen says he believes in federalism but then calls the legislation “based on a fringe constitutional theory.”

What theory would that be other than federalism? This bill doesn’t contravene the Constitution, it contravenes the modern interpretation of it. If you believe in federalism it should be a principle you abide whether the modern court agrees or not.

And if Bredesen does believe the bill is unconstitutional, why not veto it? It’ll become law either way, given our weak gubernatorial veto. The governor took an oath to the constitution, right? How is letting something pass he believes to be unconstitutional in keeping with that oath.

It would be one thing if he wasn’t sure and he wanted to dispatch it to the courts without prejudice. But there seems to be prejudice here.

If he feels the way he obviously does, he should have vetoed it. Otherwise he should have let it pass without comment.

If he doesn’t have enough fortitude to stand up to a “fringe constitutional theory” why do we need to hear about it?

and here is a pdf of the Governor's pissy-toned letter.

All the Tea Parties and Tenth Amendment resolutions in the world aren't going to give pause to the Leviathan.

This, however, is a challenge they cannot ignore.

THIS they will have to deal with.


Jon Roland said...

It is important to understand that the (unconstitutional) federal gun control statutes are not really asserted on the basis on an expanded definition of "commerce" in the Commerce Clause, but on an overbroad interpretation of the Necessary and Proper Clause, mainly from a single 1942 case, Wickard v. Filburn, which held that it was necessary and proper, to regulate interstate commerce, to be able to impose criminal penalties for consuming one's own farm produce (subject to production and price controls). In other words, it doesn't matter if the item is produced and consumed within the same state, if it has a 'substantial effect" on interstate commerce.

The interpretive error involved is in deeming a delegated power to regulate as a power to do whatever might be convenient to get a certain outcome, whereas the original meaning was that such a delegation was only of a power to make a certain kind of effort, and if it didn't produce the desired result, that was just too bad.

Now if the Tennessee Legislature had adopted the language in my Draft Amendments they would have done a better job of setting up a challenge to the misconstruction represented by Wickard.

ParaPacem said...

The Goobinator of Tennessee -
One more dupe, a stooge who has been washed in the words of doublespeak; one more pawn in the blood-caked claws of the beast.
My translation of his words would be, " I believe in freedom as long as it does not interfere with the desires of totalitarian government; I believe in state's rights unless the central government wishes to override them.
I believe that labor makes us free."

This IS the way to go, I think - state by state....will Alabama step up next? Can we fidn someone to introduce a bill, or will we need a third party... maybe the Brown Recluse Party...

High Plains Lawyer said...

Unfortunately, they will deal with it by having their robed liars "find" the power to reach guns made entirely within the state, and not for transport across state lines.

See Raich.

There's no such thing as a constitutional provision or principle that a willful judge can't flip on its head.

But it will just make the mask slip all the faster (or further reveal the little man behind the curtain as a humbug - pick your metaphor) and there is good in that.

Mike, I'd like to read your take on what may happen next once the robed ones do their thing. That would be interesting reading.


Former Texican said...

I am just sick that Montana and Tennesee beat Texas to the punch.

Defender said...

I see Gulliver, held immobile by a hundred Lilliputian THREADS... and more being spun all the time.

Vote For David said...

I expect they will ignore it, for as long as possible. Look for this sort of news to be spiked until 2010 at the earliest, maybe even after 2012

Anonymous said...

Regardless of perceived legality or interpretation of legalese, Tennessee and Montana have done something that no other States have hitherto done--they have drawn a line in the sand, and thrown down the gauntlet. They have told the federal government that they will not tolerate further violations of their respective States' sovereignty--at least on this issue.

That, in and of itself, is a good thing...right?

I wish Mitch Daniels had the balls that the governors of Montana and Tennessee have.

J. Travis said...

I'll be impressed when County Sheriffs or State police start arresting ATF, and FBI agents for attempting to arrest people for selling such firearms.

B. said...

Should make getting a Barrett quite interesting....

ScottJ said...

I e-mailed Govenor Riley when I learned Montana's law had passed.

I would scan and share his response but I think I thew it in the trash in disgust.

A very generic "I'm concerned about State's rights" sort of letter.

rexxhead said...

It's important to understand that the 'regulate' in 'regulate interstate commerce' is the same 'regulate' found in the second amendment. It does not mean 'bury under a mountain of legislation'.

It is, in fact, the same 'regulate' that gives us the regulator on our SCUBA tanks -- the device that makes sure we get the right amount of air whether we're two feet underwater or two hundred feet.

High Plains Lawyer said...

Armed and Christian said:

"Regardless of perceived legality or interpretation of legalese, Tennessee and Montana have done something that no other States have hitherto done--they have drawn a line in the sand, and thrown down the gauntlet. They have told the federal government that they will not tolerate further violations of their respective States' sovereignty--at least on this issue.

That, in and of itself, is a good thing...right?"

Yes, it is a good thing, in and of itself. Then you need a governor, and sheriffs, with some serious balls.

GunRights4US said...

The Tennessee governor allowed the bill to pass without his signature. Which means he won't support it when the time comes.

Oh well...

It was a nice thought of the Tennessee legislators anyway.