Today, Rep. Joe Carr unveiled his legislation to protect Tennesseans against a potential gun ban or registration scheme out of Washington, DC. Sen. Joey Hensley has agreed to carry the bill in the Senate.
The new Tennessee bill is a verbatim copy of an earlier version of the Wyoming bill currently pending before their state legislature. Wyoming’s HB 0104 originally provided for only misdemeanor penalties for state and federal officials attempting to enforce any kind of federal gun registration or ban, but has since been upgraded to provide felony penalties for these offenses.
Tennessee’s HB 0042 provides for misdemeanor penalties like the earlier version of the Wyoming bill. Because Rep. Carr specifically told the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center that he feels it is important that the states pass exactly the same bill with exactly the same verbiage, he is looking at filing an amendment to match to the latest version of the Wyoming legislation.
There is one loophole in both the Wyoming bill, and thus the Tennessee bill. The clause is one that indicates that Wyoming/Tennessee will declare federal actions unenforceable if they attempt to:
Tennessee: “Ban or restrict ownership of a semi automatic firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition;”
Wyoming: “Ban or restrict ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm;”
Because of this loophole neither the Tennessee or Wyoming legislation would legally protect citizens of their respective states from an outright ban or ownership restrictions of other firearms besides semi-automatic weapons. This is quite problematic.
When the Tennessee Tenth Amendment Center discussed this with Rep. Carr, he felt strongly that the two bills need to be kept identical – and that other states should pass identical legislation as well – but he was open to introducing other bills to close loopholes and address other firearm ban and registration issues.
Rep. Joe Carr did close one of the loopholes in Wyoming’s HB 0104 when filing his version in Tennessee. Wyoming’s legislation did not include ammunition as an item protected from any potential gun ban or registration scheme, however Tennessee’s HB 0042 does protect ammunition.
Unlike our model legislation, HB 0042 does not provide any protection from a draconian taxing or fee scheme that might be implemented by the federal government to make firearms too expensive to own, but there is the potential for other bills to be filed to provide protection from this avenue of attack on Tennesseans’ right to keep and bear arms.
This bill is a good start to stopping any kind of gun grab or registration coming from Washington, DC. According to Rep. Carr, it is likely to be a difficult sell to the Tennessee General Assembly. In order to gain real protection from the state government, Tennesseans are going to have to work hard and earn it through activism and lobbying legislators to make it happen.
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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