So much has changed. We had the Ten Commandments. Now we have seventy-one titles just in the Tennessee Code alone, each title having from one to over twenty chapters. Each chapter has multiple sections. Ironically, the title of the Tennessee Code governing taxes contains ten chapters, as many as the total of God’s commandments! In fact, we have so many laws that, today, one of them might have kept the young Israelite shepherd boy, David, from killing the great giant Goliath. And a proposed law may help kill the Goliath that now lives among us.
The story of David and Goliath popped into mind the other day after a conversation I had with a friend in Montgomery County. I asked if he’d had a good Christmas, and he said he had. He said he had loved slingshots growing up and had plunked down $9 at Christmas to buy himself a really good slingshot. He then laughed and said that the store clerk had to see his driver’s license and record his information for the state. He was now a “registered” slingshot owner in Tennessee.
Imagine that. Goliath may never have been slain if King Saul had had the same view of civil government we seem to have in Tennessee. David may well have not been old enough to get a driver’s license. So if he lived today, in Tennessee, he wouldn’t have been able to own his murder weapon – his slingshot.
Anyway, we know David did kill Goliath, but there’s a sense in which you might say Goliath has been resurrected from the grave and is alive and well today. He’s “living” in the form of a bloated civil government bureaucracy and big government mindset that believes it has to be in control of everything, even slingshots!
With laws requiring the registration of slingshots, you might say that the great Leviathan described by Thomas Hobbes in his book by that title is Goliath. And if you ask me, Goliath needs to be brought down to size.
That’s where a bill (Senate Bill 595/House Bill 500) recently filed by two Tennessee legislators might prove handy. Since there is no NRA-type organization for slingshot owners, protecting their right to “carry,” maybe the proposed Office of the Repealer to be established by that bill could step in on their behalf.
The bill, filed by State Senator Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and Representative Glen Casada (R-Franklin) creates the Office of the Repealer, to be funded using unexpended funds already in the state budget. One purpose of the new office is to receive information from citizens like my friend in Montgomery County about laws that should be examined for possible repeal.
But, in addition to receiving our input as citizens, the office is to take the slingshot of authority that the proposed law would provide to go looking for “Goliaths” that need to be killed. The bill provides that the office shall “investigat[e] and collect information regarding the state’s laws and rules and regulations to determine instances in which such laws and rules and regulations are unreasonable, unduly burdensome, duplicative, contradictory or unnecessary. I say, “Happy hunting!”
I hope in sharing this story I can provide some encouragement to our legislators to pass this bill and reduce the size of our state government. I’d hate to think it instead inspired someone to file a “slingshots in trunks” bill!