Discussing TN State Rep. Joe Carr’s Anti-Gun Control Bill

Recently you may have heard that TN Rep. Joe Carr introduced HB0042 in the coming session of the 108th Tennessee General Assembly. An unexpected result in filing HB0042 was that it also caught the attention of the liberal national media. I was contacted last Thursday by MSNBC and the producers of Al Sharptons, PoliticsNation talk show. They invited him to do a segment with Reverend Sharpton.

He agreed.

Watch Joe’s debate with Al Sharpton here.

For more information on the principles that fueled this bill visit www.10thamendmentcaucus.org which State Representative Judd Matheny 47th district and I have co-founded to promote, maintain, and defend State Sovereignty.

The following is a pretty good summary of my reasoning behind HB0042. The blog was posted by jayp at Redstate.com and be read in its entirety here.

By: jayp (Diary)

Tennessee State Representative Joe Carr (48th District)  has introduced HB0042 in the Tennessee General Assembly. This bill would make it a Class A Misdemeanor for any federal agent to enforce any new regulation, executive order, etc. that seeks to:

(1) Ban or restrict ownership of a semi automatic firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition; or
(2) Require any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition to be registered in any manner.

It also requires the Attorney General to represent any Tennessean who is prosecuted by the federal government for violating 1 or 2.

If HB0042 does pass, it would no doubt face a court challenge. The challengers would no doubt base their arguments on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution (Article VI, Section 2) which states:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

Maybe I’m a purist, but the first sentence of this is the most important; This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof.

So, the Supremacy Clause only applies if the law itself is constitutional. If it isn’t then the Supremacy Clause does not apply. I’m not the only one who has this interpretation. Alexander Hamilton, writing in Federalist 33, has this to say:

“But it is said that the laws of the Union are to be the supreme law of the land. But what inference can be drawn from this, or what would they amount to, if they were not to be supreme? It is evident they would amount to nothing……… .. But it will not follow from this doctrine that acts of the large society which are not pursuant to its constitutional powers, but which are invasions of the residuary authorities of the smaller societies, will become the supreme law of the land. These will be merely acts of usurpation, and will deserve to be treated as such……… It will not, I presume, have escaped observation, that it expressly confines this supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution”

How then, does this apply to Joe Carr’s legislation and the Supremacy Clause argument against it if it is taken to court?

First, the easy one. If Carr’s legislation is applied to protecting Tennesseans from an Executive Order, then there is no way the Supremacy Clause can be used as a shield. The reason is that the Supremacy Clause only applies to laws. Does the President have lawmaking authority? Obama might think he does, but he does not.

Second, what about new laws passed by Congress? This will be a little trickier and I’m not really sure how it would play out. Would the new law have to be declared constitutional before Carr’s legislation would be declared unconstitutional? What if the new law never made it up to the Supreme Court? What would happen in the meantime? Could Carr’s legislation be declared unconstitutional even if there are no new federal laws?

It will be an interesting fight and it’s one that I think will be a good one to have.

Tennessee State Representative Joe Carr, 48th District

Tennessee…A Free People

 

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