Respect for the right to bear arms and the practice of firearms ownership are cherished traditions in Tennessee that have been passed down from generation to generation. The manufacture of alcoholic beverages is another Tennessee tradition that has endured through the generations. In fact, the oldest registered distillery in the United States is the Jack Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee where all of Jack Daniel’s famous whiskey is made. The famous George Dickel distillery has been in operation in Tullahoma, Tennessee since 1870. In addition, there are a good many smaller distilleries and wineries throughout Tennessee.
It seems only logical considering that both firearms and alcohol fall under the purview of the ATF, that alcoholic beverages should be the next area of challenge in the battle for state sovereignty. This idea was first floated at a Tennessee Liberty Alliance meeting by Rep. Frank Niceley, widely considered to be the Ron Paul of the Tennessee General Assembly. The idea is to do for alcoholic beverages what the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act does for firearms.
According to Rep. Niceley, there is an approximate $13 per gallon Federal tax on all alcoholic beverages. These beverages are taxed by the Federal government even if they never leave the state, which should exempt these beverages from any Federal taxation and regulation under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution. Even so, the Federal government continues its taxation and regulation of these alcoholic beverages that never cross the Tennessee border. Just as the Firearms Freedom Act states that firearms manufactured in Tennessee, sold in Tennessee, and kept in Tennessee are exempt from regulation by the Federal government; the Alcohol Freedom Act, based on the Firearms Freedom Act, would provide the same exemption for alcoholic beverages manufactured, sold, and consumed in Tennessee. Like the firearms in the Firearms Freedom Act, the alcoholic beverages would be stamped with a “Made in Tennessee” label to identify them as exempt.
Now for the best part – as a result of the Alcohol Freedom Act the $13 a gallon Federal tax would be null and void, and replaced by an identical state tax. Tennessee consumers would see no difference in the price of their alcoholic beverages at purchase, however all of those tax dollars would stay in Tennessee to support state initiatives.
It is highly unlikely that the Federal government would leave this loss of tax revenue unchallenged. In fact, a legal contest between the state and Federal governments is one of the goals of the legislation. Because the Alcohol Freedom Act would be based on the same legal precepts as the Firearms Freedom Act, a legal challenge to the Alcohol Freedom Act would set a precedent for the interpretation of all Firearms Freedom Acts nationwide. In other words, if Tennessee wins on the Alcohol Freedom Act, then the Firearms Freedom Act is validated as well.
This is a great way to push the Firearms Freedom Act agenda, as currently no firearms manufacturers want to face the legal consequences of going ahead under either the Tennessee or Montana Firearms Freedom Acts. But with the Alcohol Freedom Act, the Tennessee state government would battle directly with the Federal government over a product that is already being legally manufactured, sold, and consumed inside the borders of the state of Tennessee.
Rep. Niceley has not yet indicated that he is working on writing this legislation, but considering that this is his idea he is the most likely candidate for a legislator to introduce this bill. Please write to Rep. Niceley and encourage him to lead the way in drafting this legislation and help Tennessee lead the way in implementing both the Alcohol Freedom Act and the Firearms Freedom Act.
Lesley Swann is a Co-Host for Tenther Radio and the state chapter coordinator for the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center. She is a native of Anderson County, Tennessee.
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