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South Carolina Bill Takes on all New Federal Gun Control Efforts

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 27, 2016) – A South Carolina bill would bar state cooperation with any future federal gun control measures, effectively blocking them in practice within the state.

A coalition of 16 Republican representatives introduced House Bill 4701 (H4701) on Jan. 19. Titled the Second Amendment Preservation Act, the legislation would prohibit the state from enforcing any federal law, rule, or regulation taking effect after January 1, 2016, that limits the right of a person to own, possess, or use a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories. The bill would also prohibit the state from accepting any federal funds related to such gun laws. Finally, the bill would bar the state from expending any funds for the enforcement of future federal gun control.

This would withdraw all state cooperation from the implementation or enforcement of any future federal gun laws.

Unlike past efforts to protect the right to keep and bear arms from federal violation in South Carolina, H4701 does not require any determination of constitutionality. It simply directs all state agencies to simply stand down, a powerful strategy advised by the “Father of the Constitution.”

A similar bill introduced earlier this month would prohibit state cooperation with the enforcement of all federal gun laws, past, present and future.


Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from the states.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun laws. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states can block many federal actions in effect. 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.”

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” 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.”


H4701 rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. 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. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”


H4701 was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the full House for consideration.


In South 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.