Legislators in Tennessee have re-introduced bills in the House and Senate to prohibit state or local governments from using funds or personnel to implement or enforce any federal or international regulation of guns, ammunition, or accessories. The bill is the same as one introduced in 2017. The legislators even forgot to change the year for the bill’s implementation . . .
The Senate bill is SB0146, the House bill is HB1407:
(1) On or after July 1, 2017, no public funds of this state, or any political subdivision of this state, shall be allocated to the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule, or regulation regulating the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.
(2) On or after July 1, 2017, no personnel or property of this state, or any political subdivision of this state, shall be allocated to the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any federal law, executive order, rule, or regulation regulating the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.
The ATF no longer requires a chief law enforcement officer sign-off for National Firearms Act tax stamps. The bill would not affect those.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Government may not require state and local governments to expend resources to enforce federal law, in Printz v. United States (1997), under the Tenth Amendment. From justia.com, Justice Scalia writing:
(e) Contrary to the contention of JUSTICE STEVENS’ dissent, the Brady Act’s direction of the actions of state executive officials is not constitutionally valid under Art. I, § 8, as a law “necessary and proper” to the execution of Congress’s Commerce Clause power to regulate handgun sales. Where, as here, a law violates the state sovereignty principle, it is not a law “proper for carrying into Execution” delegated powers within the Necessary and Proper Clause’s meaning. Cf. New York v. United States, 505 U. S. 144, 166. The Supremacy Clause does not help the dissent, since it makes “Law of the Land” only “Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance [of the Constitution].” Art. VI, cl. 2. pp. 923-925.
What would the downside, if any, be if this bill were to pass? Would State officials be prohibited from running background checks, for issuing Tennessee handgun carry permits? It is not clear the bill would affect background checks done to enforce Tennessee law.
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