Congressional hopeful and state Rep. Joe Carr wants to ensure that any new gun restrictions handed down from Washington, D.C., go unenforced in the Volunteer State.
Carr, a Lascassas Republican, is introducing a bill that would slap federal officials with a Class A misdemeanor for enforcing new federal gun laws, executive orders, rules or regulations.
“It’s our attempt to push back on the federal government’s ever-increasing encroachment not only on our personal liberties but on our state sovereignty, and this is what we’re going to do. We’ve had enough, and enough is enough,” he told reporters at a press conference in Murfreesboro.
Under Carr’s proposal, House Bill 42, state troopers would have the authority to arrest federal officers, although he said he believed, but is not certain, the practice would be legal and added it would face a likely challenge by the courts if passed.
President Barack Obama unveiled 23 executive orders and a handful of legislative priorities Wednesday to address gun control in the wake of last month’s shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 students and six adults dead. Proposals include re-instituting an assault weapons ban and require a universal background check for anyone wanting to buy a gun.
Such a bill making it illegal for a federal agent to enforce federal laws almost guarantees a court challenge, said Ed Yarbrough, a former Middle Tennessee U.S. district attorney.
“There would be some issues with the concept of a state law more or less creating it a crime for a federal agent to enforce a federal law,” Yarbrough said. “It will probably have to be hashed out in the courts, and that will take years.”
While applauding the president’s gun control plan, the Tennessee Democratic Party sent out a press release scolding Carr, who is considering a bid for the 4th Congressional District in 2014.
“The state legislature could act to reduce gun violence locally, too. But instead, extreme politicians like Joe Carr are presenting legally suspect plans that would make criminals of officers who are working to protect our families. It's as disgraceful as it is self-serving,” said party Chairman Chip Forrester in an emailed statement.
On Obama’s proposals, Rep. Diane Black said, “While I will thoroughly review all of the president’s recommendations, I will not support any measure that undermines our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Addressing the symptom, rather than the root of the problem, will not make our children or society safer,” said Congressman Diane Black of the sixth congressional district.