The Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act (HB1796/SB1610), which passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the State House and Senate last June, met some pushback from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) when Carson Carroll, ATF Assistant Director, penned a letter to all firearms licensees in Tennessee. Carroll wrote:
The [TN Firearms Freedom] Act purports to exempt personal firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition manufactured in the State, and which remain in the State, from most Federal firearms laws and regulations. However, because the Act conflicts with Federal firearms laws and regulations, Federal law supersedes the Act, and all provisions of the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act, and their corresponding regulations, continue to apply.
Carroll undoubtedly wrote this letter under the assumption that the Commerce Clause affected intrastate commerce; however, proponents of the 10th Amendment are winning the battle on that front. This is most obvious with the nullification of the REAL ID Act by several dozen states. The federal government responded by backing down from its mandate.
The same battles are being fought over health care and gun regulation, as well. Several states have passed legislation similar to Tennessee’s Firearms Freedom Act (TNFFA). Likewise, Virginia and Tennessee have each addressed the issue of socialized medicine by addressing legislation that discourages residents in those respective states from having to purchase health care policies, government or otherwise. If enough states pass nullification legislation, the feds will step back.
As an aside, noted historian Thomas Woods recently addressed the issue of nullification at a Campaign for Liberty presentation at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. Woods echoed the sentiment of the aforementioned states in supporting measures to remind the federal government about the 10th Amendment.
Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America (“the only NO COMPROMISE gun lobby in Washington,” according to Texas Congressman Ron Paul), spoke to conservatives gathered in Arlington, Virginia for the Leadership Institute’s monthly Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast. When asked about passage of the TNFFA and the ATF’s response, Pratt pushed back against the ATF.
Pratt cited other examples of nullification of federal laws by the states and encouraged local law enforcement officers, particularly County Sheriffs, to resist giving in to federal demands. He recounted a story of a West Tennessee law enforcement official who excused federal agents from an investigation of a firearms case. The Gun Owners of America are the staunchest defenders of 2nd Amendment rights at both the state and federal level. Pratt values the maxim “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” while others who claim to fight for gun rights live by “nothing ventured, nothing lost.”
GOA consistently fights for more rights for gun owners.
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