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BATFE - Back Off!

A standoff of Constitutional significance is brewing between the federales and the states of Montana and Tennessee. Montana and Tennessee have had the temerity to read, understand, and believe in the Constitution when it states that:

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. (ninth Amendment)"

and that:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. (tenth Amendment)"

These states have passed laws that remove from any federal regulation any ammunition or firearms that are manufactured and sold completely within the border of the state. Federal regulation of firearms is based on Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which states that "The Congress shall have power to ... regulate Commerce ... among the several States ..." These two states have devised a truly delicious challenge to the out of control government in DC.

As might be expected, the federales are not buying the argument. The BATFE has posted Open Letters on their web site to the federal firearm licensees in each state. The Letters are attached below.

The BATFE is funded by Congress. Every Congressman is under oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

We should remind our sworn Congressmen that their creation, the BATFE, is way outside its bounds.

Starting here:

you can select senators and / or representatives from one or more states to receive your FAX. On the following page you can enter a message. Here is what I just sent to all senators and representatives (feel free to cut and paste this into the form on - please remove my name and address at the end):

Dear [name of congressman - inserted automatically]

The states of Montana and Tennessee have recently passed similar legislation: the Montana and Tennessee Firearms Freedom Acts. These Acts remove from all federal firearms regulations any firearms and ammunition that are manufactured and sold completely within each respective state.

The legal justification that the federal government has used to regulate the private manufacture and sale of firearms in the past, in spite of the clear language of the 2nd Amendment, is found in Article I, Section 8 of our Constitution: "The Congress shall have power to ... regulate Commerce ... among the several States ..." It is clear that the items discussed in the Acts recently passed by Montana and Tennessee do not involve Commerce among the several states and therefore there can be no legal justification for federal regulation of these items.

As you may not have recently reviewed our Constitution, please take a moment to read the ninth and tenth Amendments which make it clear that only those powers enumerated in the Constitution are granted to the federal government and any power not given to the federal government is retained by the people or the states.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) has recently posted Open Letters, at, from Mr. Carson W. Carroll, Assistant Director of the BATFE, to the federal firearms licensees in the states of Montana and Tennessee. Referring to the Acts mentioned above, he states:

"However, because the Act conflicts with Federal firearms laws and regulations, Federal law supersedes the Act, ..."

Mr. Carroll is mistaken. It is clear that Mr. Carroll, and by implication others in the BATFE, does not understand the nature of the government established by our Constitution. As you are sworn to uphold the Constitution, I would appreciate it if you would remind the leadership within the BATFE of the Constitutionally defined relationship between the federal government and the States. At a minimum, the BATFE should withdraw their Open Letters and cease their harassment of federal firearms licensees. This issue is a critical test of the federal nature of our government and I am most interested in where you stand.

Sincerely yours,

Bob Smither
2600 Ware Dairy Road
Friendswood, Texas 77546