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Oklahoma Legislation Seeks to Protect Firearms Manufacturers from Federal Regulation

A Oklahoma lawmaker has pre-filed a bill for the 2015 legislative session that would exempt firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition from federal regulation if manufactured and maintained in the Sooner State.

Senate Bill 10 (SB10), the Firearms Manufacturer Relocation to Oklahoma Act, was pre-filed on Dec. 4 and will officially be introduced next year. It was authored by State Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid).

The bill states in part:

A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Oklahoma and that remains exclusively within the borders of Oklahoma is not subject to federal law, federal taxation or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

Under the bill, firearms would be clearly marked “Made in Oklahoma” to differentiate them from guns made in other states. If passed, the bill will go into effect in Nov. 2015.

Unlike similar bills passed in other states, the Oklahoma legislation also includes some guidelines for who will qualify to purchase such in-state firearms.

Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center suggested this could be a crucial part of the process. “A number of states have passed bills like this already, but haven’t put them into effect,” he said. “But in medical marijuana states where people are given a guideline of who ‘qualifies’ to purchase such products, the market is growing and the feds can’t put the genie back into the bottle. If people in Oklahoma have the courage, this could be a powerful step forward for liberty,” continued Boldin.

THE COMMERCE POWER

SB10 seeks to encourage firearm manufacturing and sales within the state, but it does not rely on the 2nd Amendment. It rests exclusively on the intended limitations of the commerce power delegated to Congress and clarifies that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not extend to products manufactured and sold entirely within Texas borders.The bill cites both the 9th and 10th Amendments and goes on to say that “the regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

A federal court had declined to hear a case on a similar bill from Montana, but Boldin suggested that this has nothing to do with what can happen in practice. “In the famous 2005 Raich case, Justice Scalia and the majority held that growing marijuana plants in your backyard was considered ‘interstate commerce,’ and under the purview of federal power,” he said. “At that time, there were ten states with medical marijuana laws and not a single one repealed it as a result of this court opinion. Today, there are more than 20 states doing the same. If marijuana users can have the courage needed to defy the feds, I’m sure gun owners can do the same,” continued Boldin.

The Constitution states, “The Congress shall have power… to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…The Congress shall have Power…to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”

Robert Natelson notes in The Original Constitution that there are misconceptions of the commerce clause in the Constitution, that the regulation of commerce is not exclusively enumerated to Congress and that commerce did not include everything under the sun. The states still have immense power to regulate commerce within their own state and even with foreign nations.

Natelson writes, “Federalists repeatedly represented that the Constitution would leave the states as the sole government regulators of the vast majority of human actives. They affirmed that the central government would have almost no role over…use of personal property outside commerce, wills and inheritance, business regulation and licensing, manufacturing” and others.

Also Natelson writes, “The Constitution banned states from imposing duties on imports or exports without the consent of Congress…otherwise, states were free to regulate commerce with foreign nations–and even to impose embargoes on goods from outside–subject to preemption by Congress or by federal treaties.”

The Oklahoma legislative session begins the first week of February. SB10 will first be assigned to a committee where it will have to pass before the full senate can vote on it.

ACTION ITEMS

For Oklahoma: Contact your state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor and support SB10. Then, contact your state representative and urge them to introduce similar legislation in their chamber. You can find their contact information HERE.

ALL OTHER STATES: Contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a bill defending gun rights during the 2015 legislative year, such as our 2nd Amendment Preservation Act. You can find their contact information HERE.

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