On Wednesday, after the tie vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 27, SB 250 remains stuck in that committee. It is still alive, but won’t move unless Tennesseans mobilize to get it dislodged for a second committee vote.
The leading arguement in opposition to SB250, for which the committee meeting was delayed, was for an opinion from the State’s Attorney General. See citings from the Attorney General in the link to his opinion.
“Tennessee lacks authority to render them ineffective within its borders, for the States are not “free to nullify for their own people the legislative decisions that Congress has made on behalf of all the People.” While the Bills themselves declare that certain federal firearms regulations are unconstitutional as, for example, by exceeding the scope of the commerce power, see SB250 § 2, the responsibility for that determination rests with the judiciary, not a state legislature. Absent such a judicial determination—and SB250 lists “judicial opinions” among the “federal action” that it proscribes, SB § 1—federal law is effective in Tennessee. “If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery . . . .” “No state legislator or executive or judicial officer can war against the Constitution without violating his undertaking to support it”. Nor may a state legislature accomplish the nullification of federal firearms regulation indirectly, either by criminalizing the activities of federal officers or by criminalizing actions of state citizens, such as firearm dealers, who have enforcement obligations under federal law, since to do so would make compliance with both federal and state regulations impossible. In either instance, the Bills’ provisions would directly threaten to frustrate federal policy objectives and to impair the ability of federal actors to carry them out. Consequently, the Bills violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.”
There are two key votes to bringing the bill up for a second vote. One is Sen. John Stevens. He was one of the “nay” votes on the bill, but we need to pressure him specifically to support bringing the bill for a second vote. The second is Senator Lowe Finney. He was also one of the no votes.
Please contact him now to encourage him to support a second vote on SB 250, as well as to change his vote to “yea.” Phone calls will have much more impact than emails, but do both if you can. Remember to be polite but firm in your communications with Sen. Stevens’ office.
Sen. John Stevens: Republican, District 24 310A WMB, (615) 741-4576, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Lowe Finney, Democrat, D-Jackson District 27 — Madison, Crockett, Dyer, Lake and Lauderdale Counties Phone (615) 741-1810 email@example.com
Editor’s note: Sen. Finney voted no on all points while hiding by the skirts of the governor’s office, there by refusing to defend the constitutional right of states as well as the 2nd amendment.
For the Senate vote and discussion view Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee hearing of SB 250 on February 27, 2013 in order to see Senator Finney’s and Senator Steven’s comments.
* Kelli Sladick is originally from Ohio. She is a veteran of the US Navy and holds two undergraduate and one graduate degree. Her current home is Nashville, Tennessee. She contributed to this report.