Nullification Bill Rejected in Tennessee Senate After Testy Hearing

A shot at nullifying federal gun laws in Tennessee died in the state Senate Wednesday. A vocal committee chairman sped along debate and ultimately cast the deciding vote.

Sen. Brian Kelsey of Germantown is a lawyer by training and the newly appointed chair of the Judiciary Committee. He took a personal interest in blocking legislation that would make it a felony for agents to enforce federal gun laws. To make his point, he laid out stark terms.

 “This is a bill that says our individual sheriff’s deputies will be going out and using deadly force of the law of Tennessee to potentially shoot and kill federal authorities for enforcing U.S. Supreme Court decisions,” Kelsey said.

The bill failed only because of a tie vote.

During more than an hour of debate, a self-described states rights expert who was asked to testify by the bill’s sponsor refused to give her real name. Also a staffer in Gov. Bill Haslam’s office said there was a good chance if the bill passed he wouldn’t sign it, stopping short of threatening a veto.

Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet says she’s not defeated, arguing that her nullification bill has caused good debate on the Constitution.

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