Tennessee is urging 49 other states to come together and create a “joint working group among the states” to combat unconstitutional federal legislation and assert state rights.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen signed H.J.R. 108, the State Sovereignty Resolution, on June 23. According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the resolution created a committee to form a joint working group among the states to enumerate the abuses of authority by the federal government and seek repeal of imposed mandates.
State Rep. Susan Lynn recently wrote a letter to the other 49 state legislatures, inviting them to join the group and warning that the role of the federal government has been “blurred, bent and breached.”
“The national government has become a complex system of programs whose purposes lie outside of the responsibilities of the enumerated powers and of securing our natural rights, programs that benefit some while others must pay,” Lynn wrote. “Today, the federal government seeks to control the salaries of those employed by private business, to change the provisions of private contracts, to nationalize banks, insurers and auto manufacturers and to dictate to every person in the land what his or her medical choices will be.”
She continued, “Forcing property from employers to provide health care, legislating what individuals are and are not entitled to and using the labor of some so that others can receive money that they did not earn goes far beyond securing natural rights, and the enumerated powers in the Constitution.”
Lynn said that the people created the federal government to be their agent only for certain enumerated purposes.
“The Tenth Amendment defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people to the federal government, and also that which is absolutely necessary to advancing those powers specifically enumerated in the Constitution of the United States,” she wrote. “The rest is to be handled by the state governments, or locally, by the people themselves.”
She noted that the Constitution does not include a congressional power to override state laws, nor does it give the judicial branch unlimited jurisdiction over all matters. Attempts to include such provisions in the Constitution were rejected by the Founding Fathers.
“With this in mind,” she wrote, “any federal attempt to legislate beyond the Constitutional limits of Congress’ authority is a usurpation of state sovereignty – and unconstitutional. Governments and political leaders are best held accountable to the will of the people when government is local. The people of a state know what is best for them; authorities, potentially thousands of miles away, governing their lives is opposed to the very notion of freedom.”
In one example of Tennessee’s battle against federal-government policies, federal gun regulators wrote to gun dealers around Tennessee in July, dropping the hammer on a state law that exempts weapons made, sold and used inside the state from interstate regulations.
The letter was distributed to holders of federal firearms licenses.
In it, Carson W. Carroll, the assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told dealers the Tennessee Firearms Freedom Act, adopted this year, “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.”
The exemption is not right, the federal-agency letter contends.
More recently, the state of Montana filed a lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder seeking a court order that the federal government stay out of the way of Montana’s management of its own firearms.
As WND reported, the action was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Montana Shooting Sports Association in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont., to validate the principles and terms of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which took effect Oct. 3.
The law provides guns and ammo made, sold and used in Montana would not require any federal forms; silencers made and sold in Montana would be fully legal and not registered; and there would be no firearm registration, serial numbers, criminal-records check, waiting periods or paperwork required.
The idea is spreading quickly. Similar plans have been introduced in many other states.
Montana’s plan is called “An Act exempting from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana.”
The law cites the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time it was admitted to statehood in 1889.
“The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Montana and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Montana and the United States in 1889,” the law states.
The lead attorney for the plaintiffs’ litigation team is Quentin Rhodes of the Missoula firm of Sullivan, Tabaracci & Rhoades, PC. The team includes other attorneys working in Montana, New York, Florida, Arizona and Washington.
“We’re happy to join this lawsuit,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, “because we believe this issue should be decided by the courts.”
“We feel very strongly that the federal government has gone way too far in attempting to regulate a lot of activity that occurs only in-state,” added Montana Shooting Sports Association President Gary Marbut. “The Montana Legislature and governor agreed with us by enacting the (Montana Firearms Freedom Act). We welcome the support of many other states that are stepping up to the plate with their own firearms-freedom acts.”