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2013 Legislative Session Preview: "Firearms Freedom Act" & The Attack of the "Tenthers"

by: countrycat

Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:08:13 AM CST

Much of the 2013 legislation introduced by members of both parties in the Alabama legislature ranges from the silly, to the unnecessary, to the downright delusional.  And Republican Mike Jones pulls of a legislative hat trick HB8, as does Senator Gerald Allen with his Firearms Freedom Act (SB43).

Jones started the gun legislation stampede off with a bang when he introduced HB8, an Alabama constitutional amendment to protect the right to "keep and bear arms" (read full text):

Article I, Section 26 of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, provides that every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself or herself and the state.

This proposed amendment would provide that every citizen has a fundamental right to bear arms and that any restriction on this right would be subject to strict scrutiny.

This proposed amendment would also provide that a citizen cannot be compelled by international treaty or law from taking actions that prohibit, limit, or otherwise interfere with the fundamental right to bear arms.

It's silly because - contrary to what many GOP elected officials believe - the "right to keep and bear arms" is already in the US Constitution and what's in that august document trumps any silliness added to Alabama's state constitution.

A couple of red flags with this bill:

  • Strict Scrutiny is a standard of judicial review where the courts weigh a government's ability to "weigh the government's interest against a constitutional right or principle."  Some Alabama sheriffs have expressed concern that this section might require them to issue concealed carry permits to virtually anyone who applies.  Under current law, sheriffs have more latitude.

    So the unnecessary part of the bill is to restrict the discretion local law enforcement. And we thought the GOP was all about local control!

  • "International treaties."  Really, GOP?  Is it remotely possible for you guys to introduce any piece of legislation without an delusional dash of  anti-UN paranoia? This isn't so much of a red flag as it is just more stupid Republican unicorn hunting.

Now, SB48 is even more troubling. Full text here:

This bill would exempt from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained within the borders of Alabama.

The important thing to understand about the so-called "Firearms Freedom Act" is that it is not homegrown Alabama legislation: it's a nationwide effort on the part of the "tenther" movement.  If that sounds suspiciously close to the "birther" movement, well... its is.  Those groups cross-pollinate pretty regularly.

The "tenthers," though, are far more dangerous.  Read more about them here, but here's a taste of their worldview:

Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) has been an opponent of the Federal Reserve, Agriculture Department, and Justice Department, and claims the Federal government should only focus on crimes such as counterfeiting, treason, and piracy. Broun wasn’t specific, but he intimated that the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and Food and Drug Administration should be eliminated. Broun’s argument is that the main function of the federal government is national defense.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), recently said that Federal child labor laws are unconstitutional and claims that states have the right to regulate commerce and that the Federal government is usurping states’ authority. 

Multi-national corporations would just LOVE to be freed from the constraints of child-labor laws, minimum wage regulations, food safety requirements, and anti-pollution laws.  In the "tenthers," they've found an eager horde of foot soldiers who seem determined to turn the United States of America into a North American version of Somalia.

Not surprisingly, the Alabama GOP leadership seems to think that's a good thing.


countrycat :: 2013 Legislative Session Preview: "Firearms Freedom Act" & The Attack of the "Tenthers"
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that's right (4.00 / 1)

We have a State that's feeding on its own fat just to stay alive and keep the schools open, and a goodly portion of our lawmkers think it's a fine time to refight the Civil War and prepare for the Coming Armaggedon where Obama suddenly morphs into Judge Dredd or something and, in concert with his UN henchmen, enters the State of Alabama and confiscates Graddaddy's shotgun.

Seriously, do these people get their ideas from comic books?


A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. -Churchill

Puh-leeze....... (4.00 / 1)
Most modern comic book villains are far more sophisticated in their deviousness.  And, um, if anyone's looking to become Judge Dredd, it's the Republicons.  (I'm not sure you really know that much about the REAL Judge Dredd.  Neither of the movies has had that much in common with the comic book character.  Dredd was actually created as an over-the-top version of Dirty Harry, and I'm not aware of any conservative who thinks Dirty Harry is anything but a role model.)

[ Parent ]
Comic books, alternate realities, who knows? (4.00 / 1)

But it's a national problem:

Mississippi TEA Partiers seek to nullify any laws they don't like

The committee, composed of 14 state elected officials, would determine what is and isn’t within the federal government’s power when dealing with the state’s constitutional rights. … The bill, which is listed with the state as an “active bill” and will be taken up by the Constitution Committee, provides measures to “prohibit the infringement of the Constitutionally protected rights of the State of Mississippi, or its people, by means of federal statute, mandate, executive order, judicial decision or other action deemed by the State to be unconstitutional.”

“This was a bill that was requested for me to bring up,” Chism said. “It’s to solidify the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.”

It would be funny, but these people are both deadly serious and well armed.


"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."  - John Kenneth Galbraith



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