Tennessee Republican Super-majority in Senate Judiciary Committee Refuse to Repeal Unconstitutional Law

by Horatio Bunce

One of my arguments regarding Tennessee law and upholding our constitutions, that is, to stop infringing upon the rights enumerated in our state and federal constitutions with current unconstitutional legislation in place, is that the legislation required to do this is quite simple. We do not need additional, new “laws” to codify these rights (such as Bill Lee’s Fake Constitutional Carry legislation which is not constitutional). Many issues can be corrected by simply repealing the existing unconstitutional (and therefore illegal) state laws on the books. This particularly applies in regards to the unconstitutional “law” Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-17-1307 which states that:


(1) A person commits an offense who carries, with the intent to go armed, a firearm or a club.


(A) The first violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class C misdemeanor, and, in addition to possible imprisonment as provided by law, may be punished by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500).
(B) A second or subsequent violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.
(C) A violation of subdivision (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor if the person’s carrying of a handgun occurred at a place open to the public where one (1) or more persons were present.

Of course, this “law” is a blatant violation of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – and in fact is in conflict with other existing unconstitutional “permit” law, such as Bill Lee’s Fake Constitutional Carry. How exactly does one carry a firearm (or club), even with a Fake Constitutional Carry permit, and not “go armed”? This is shoddy legal work, missing definitions and intentionally ambiguous such that I suppose any “law enforcement” officer or judge can decide for themselves what your “intent” is in keeping and bearing your arms. It makes a misdemeanor criminal of any and every person carrying a handgun in public where one or more persons is present. Well duh, it takes at least one person to carry the weapon. Really brilliant “law” work here. The state of Tennessee is currently in the criminal position of depriving residents of  Constitutional rights with this “law”.

There was a bill in current legislative session, SB1391, sponsored by Sen. Janice Bowling that would repeal this unconstitutional “law” while leaving the other provisions within the section prohibiting firearm possession by convicted felons, etc. I.e., it would remove the unconstitutional portion infringing on the right to keep and bear arms and stop criminalizing the act of non-felons exercising a constitutional right. This is actually REQUIRED by the U.S. Constitution and those taking oaths to defend the Constitution, uphold it, etc. should be pursuing this sort of action.

So, what did the 7-1 Republican Super-majority Senate Judicial Committee do with the bill? Not a damn thing. They wouldn’t even make a motion to discuss it. Here are the parties involved:

Mike Bell (R), Dawn White (R), Paul Rose (R),  Todd Gardenhire (R), Sara Kyle (D), Jon Lundberg (R), Kerry Roberts (R), John Stevens (R).  Katrina Robinson (D) was not present, so the Republicans enjoyed a 7-1 majority and wouldn’t move on restoring constitutional rights.


Link to video here:http://tnga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=610&clip_id=24634&meta_id=591892


Mike Bell does some tap dancing at the end to explain that somehow there was a mix-up on an amendment that was pulled right before noon, so the OIG office was told to not bother testifying on this bill and now they would want to, blah, blah, blah. What difference does it make? IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. IT IS CRIMINAL FOR THIS GOVERNMENT TO KEEP DOING IT. IT SHOULD BE REPEALED. Who cares what the OIG says? Besides, if you will pay close attention to the first of the video, Janice states that drafting code 4096 amendment makes the bill. There are no Senate amendments listed for this bill. So is there an amendment or not? Since the General Assembly website still shows ZERO amendments on the Senate bill, is there zero, one (as declared by Bowling) or two (as implied by Bell)? Once again, Tennesseans are kept in the dark about legislators’ backroom discussions, side deals, required amendments to “get your bill through”, dog and pony show testimonials from various lobbyists against the people, etc. such as the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association. Many times we cannot even see the amendments that are being read and debated live by committees. Those who have attempted to track the sausage-making in Nashville are familiar with how impossible it is at times to even be informed on legislation before it is voted upon – let alone contact the legislators about to vote on your behalf. This bill, however, is quite simple. There should be no deals required. Republicans not making a motion on this bill feigning wanting to give a state agency with financial conflict of interest to keep infringing on constitutional rights is no excuse.

Tennessee Republicans have enjoyed a supermajority for over TEN YEARS with no impediments to these types of corrections EXCEPT FOR REPUBLICANS. They cannot blame the Democratic party. The fault lies with the Republicans. Also note that the typical “fiscal note” was attached to this bill declaring that the state would lose millions of dollars if they cannot continue to infringe on constitutional rights of law-abiding, non-felon gun owners.  These criminal protection racket fiscal notes are continually attached to bills seeking to restore 2nd amendment rights to Tennesseans. It is just too expensive for government to let go of their criminal infringement taxes. This is nothing less than constitutional right-abridging theft by our state government and is not an excuse to continue unconstitutional infringements. State government has been controlled by a super-majority of Republicans for over 10 years now. How much of your life is left to keep waiting on them? It appears that all seven of these members might need to go.  At least they should make a show of a 4-3 split and keep playing the “we need to close our private political party primaries so the RINOs don’t keep getting elected by us” game. 

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