RALEIGH, NC., April 16, 2015 – A bill introduced in The Tar Heel State this week would declare all federal gun control to be invalid and take major steps to end their enforcement in practice in North Carolina.
Introduced by Representatives Mitchell Setzer and Jay Adams, House Bill 886 (H886) – known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act – would reject and declare invalid any and all federal gun control that “infringes on a law‑abiding citizen’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 30 of Article I of the North Carolina Constitution.” This would include, but is certainly not limited to, excessive taxes or fees, mandated registration, potential confiscation and any future bans on firearms and/or ammunition.
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
This is because a vast majority of federal enforcement actions are either led or supported by law enforcement – and other agencies – on a state level. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”
“A partnership doesn’t work too well when one side stops working,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control schemes, the states can effectively bring them down.”
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL
Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.
The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:
The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.
As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now considered well settled.”
H886 is no mere statement of principle, as noted by its express prohibition on material support and enforcement by state officials. It also expressly lists what types of federal acts fall under the scope of this prohibition.
(1) Imposes a tax, fee, or stamp on a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition that is not common to all other goods and services and may be reasonably expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by a law‑abiding citizen.(2) Requires the registration or tracking of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition or the owners of those items that may be reasonably expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by a law‑abiding citizen.(3) Prohibits the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition by a law‑abiding citizen.(4) Orders the confiscation of a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition from a law‑abiding citizen.
Also introduced this week, H699 would provide that “No federal executive order, agency order, law, statute, rule or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after December 1, 2015, shall be knowingly and willfully ordered to be enforced by any State or local official, agent or employee if contrary to the provisions of Section 30 of Article I of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.” Introduced by Rep. Larry Pittman and 3 co-sponsors, the bill also repeals the state prohibition on conceal carry in most situations.
Both bills have been referred to the House Judiciary I Committee where they will need to pass by majority vote. If recent history is any indication, H886 and H699 will need strong grassroots support to pass the Republican-controlled state legislature.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In North Carolina, follow all the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK
All other states, contact your state legislator and encourage them to introduce similar legislation to stop federal gun control at this link.