Members of Congress who want to infringe on your right to keep and bear arms will never give up. Fortunately, through our states we can effectively render any new federal gun laws powerless by using a legal doctrine upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court.
This is done by depriving the feds of any enforcement assistance by local law enforcement agencies in their state, a doctrine known as “anti-commandeering.”
Essentially, it provides that state legislation can prohibit state law enforcement from aiding the federal agencies attempting to enforce federal gun laws.
In other words, the federal government cannot require a state to carry out federal acts. The federal government can pass a law and try to enforce it, but the state isn’t required to help them.
Is this legal?
It is according to the US Supreme Court. For 150 years it has repeatedly affirmed the constitutionality of anti-commandeering laws.
Relevant court cases include:
* 1842 Prigg v. Pennslvania: The court held that states weren’t required to enforce federal slave rendition laws.
* 1992 New York v. US: The court held that Congress couldn’t require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations.
* 1997 Printz v. US: The court held that “the federal government may not compel the states to enact or administer a federal regulatory program.”
* 2012 Independent Business v. Sebelius: The Court held that the federal government can not compel states to expand Medicaid by threatening to withhold funding for Medicaid programs already in place.
Applied to Federal Gun Control
Anti-commandeering can have a significant impact on any prospective federal legislation undermining the Second Amendment and our right to keep and bear arms.
The Constitution does not delegate any power to the federal government to regulate firearms. This authority does not exist within the “few and defined” powers James Madison outlines in Federalist 45.
The Second Amendment further clarifies the restriction on federal power, clearly stating that the right of the people to keep and bear arms “shall not be infringed.” The plain meaning of the text offers no possibility of any federal legislation whatsoever restricting or regulating firearms or ammunition, even in the course of exercising legitimate constitutional powers. Therefore, any federal legislation pertaining to gun control is, in reality, unconstitutional.
Of course, federal courts have illegitimately eroded the constitutional limits on federal power, leaving Americans with little recourse in Washington D.C. But that does not leave we the people completely powerless. We can legally take action at the state level to thwart federal encroachment on our rights. While we might debate the constitutionality of such federal gun control laws, there is zero debate that states don’t have to help enforce them.
The fact is, the federal government needs the states to play ball in order for any of its laws to be more than words on paper. They depend on state support to implement and enforce their laws. Judge Andrew Napolitano stated earlier this year that the federal government relies on the assistance of local law enforcement to give their laws teeth. Without their support, any future gun control laws would be “nearly impossible” to enforce.
That is exactly what the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act is designed to do. It bans all state and local employees and resources from providing material support to the enforcement of federal acts on firearms, accessories and ammunition.
This isn’t just theory. For instance, during the 2014 legislative session, the Idaho Legislature unanimously passed an anti-comandeering law the prohibits the state from cooperating with enforcement of any future federal gun control laws. Other states can and should follow Idaho’s lead in 2015.
But do Anti-comandeering Laws have Any Actual Effect?
In short, they already have.
Northern abolitionists used anti-comandeering laws in response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Fast forward 160 years, states like Washington and Colorado are helping end the war on cannabis by refusing to comply with federal prohibition.
The question isn’t whether it will work. It’s whether or not Americans are finally going to take the initiative and resist government encroachment on their right to bear arms.
Rosa Parks may have put it best:
People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.
It’s time for Americans to stop giving in to violations of the 2nd Amendment and their right to keep and bear arms. Call your state representative and senator today and encourage them to introduce and pass a Second Amendment Preservation Act for your state.