HARRISBURG, Pa. (Feb. 18, 2015) – A bill introduced in Pennsylvania would take important steps to effectively block a proposed new ATF ban on the popular M855 AR-15 round and other federal gun control measures within the state.
Sen. John Eichelberger and nearly a dozen cosponsors introduced Senate Bill 357 (SB357) on January 29, 2015. The bill is intended to protect from infringement “the individual right of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to bear arms as provided in section 21 of Article I of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.”
Section 2 prohibits the use of State resources to enforce any new Federal gun control on firearms, firearm components or ammunition. It then goes on to expressly state that:
Neither the Commonwealth, nor any of its political subdivisions, shall allow the use of any resources or public funds to enforce any Federal law, executive order or regulation that is enacted or promulgated after the effective date of this section and attempts to register, restrict or ban the ownership or purchase, whether by number or type, of a firearm, component of a firearm or ammunition.
“It’s essential to draw a line in the sand, and that’s what SB357 does,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By banning resources from the implementation of any new federal gun control measure, it will make them almost impossible to enforce and set the stage for the state to take similar action against other long-standing gun control ‘laws’ dating back to 1934.”
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 Boldin. “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 20 years old and considered well settled.”
Introduction comes at a time when several other states are considering similar bills, building momentum and support for the effort to block federal gun control at the state level. Similar bills have already been filed for 2015 in Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, Minnesota, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, West Virginia and New Hampshire and several more states are expected to do the same. Since 2013, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas have already passed into law legislation that pushes back at federal gun control measures with this same strategy.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In Pennsylvania: 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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