COLUMBUS, OH (Mar. 5, 2015) – A bill introduced in the Buckeye State would draw a line in the sand regarding unconstitutional federal gun control by banning any new firearm registration requirements or firearm bans in the state.
Ohio Reps. Wes Retherford and Ron Hood introduced House Bill 35 (HB35) on Tuesday, February 10, 2015. It reads, in part:
No law enforcement officer, federal law enforcement officer, international agent, or other person shall enforce or attempt to enforce a firearm registration requirement or firearm ban in any statute or rule of this state or the United States or any ordinance, resolution, or rule of a political subdivision, unless the registration requirement or ban is in effect prior to the effective date of this section.
The bill also includes a full prohibition on enacting or enforcement registrations:
No political subdivision shall enact or adopt any ordinance, resolution, or rule that requires a person to register a firearm or establishes a firearm registry.
The way this could play out, said David Kopel, an adjunct constitutional law professor at the University of Denver, is that if the federal government were to ban assault weapons, and then a local cop pulled someone over for a traffic violation and saw an assault weapon in the car, the cop could simply give the guy a ticket for the traffic violation and send him on his way.
And, as even the Huffington Post has recently acknowledged, “resources of the federal government are stretched thin,” and such bills would “have effects beyond a simple symbolic statement. “
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.”
HB35 was initially referred to the Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, but has since been reassigned to the State Government Committee which is chaired by a strong 2A supporter and HB35 cosponsor Rep. Ron Maag. Sponsor Rep. Ron Hood and another cosponsor Rep. John Becker also sit on this committee.
This same exact bill was introduced in March of 2013 (HB99), but died a slow death in the State and Local Government Committee despite support from the Tenth Amendment Center, Gun Owners of America, National Association for Gun Rights and Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohio’s preeminent pro-gun lobby. With Rep. Maag at the helm of the State Government Committee this session, HB35 has a much better chance of passing out of committee.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In Ohio: Follow the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK
ALL OTHER STATES:
Urge your state rep and senator to introduce a similar bill. Send them the link the model legislation at this link:
contact info here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
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