COLUMBIA, S.C., Dec. 7, 2014 – Two South Carolina lawmakers have co-sponsored a bill that would exempt firearms, firearms accessories and ammunition from federal regulation if manufactured and maintained in the state.
Senate Bill 126 (S.126) was pre-filed on Dec. 3 by Senators Lee Bright and Lawrence Grooms and referred to the Committee on Judiciary.
The bill states in part:
A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in South Carolina and that remains within the borders of South Carolina is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.
S126 works in conjunction with two other bills filed in South Carolina last week, S117 and S125. These bills address federal gun control from a different direction, banning the state from helping the federal government enforce its acts, laws, rules, regulations, and orders. (Learn about those bills here)
The Firearms Freedom Act seeks to encourage firearm manufacturing and sales within the state, but it does not rely on the Second Amendment. It rests 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 South Carolina’s borders.
The bill cites both the Ninth 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.”
THE COMMERCE POWER
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.”
In South Carolina: Even though the legislative session doesn’t officially begin for over a month, activists in support of the 2nd Amendment are encouraged to take the following actions:
1. Find your state senator and rep at this link: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
2. Call him or her – a phone call has far more impact than an email. Strongly, but politely ask your senator to co-sponsor and support S117, S125, and S126. Ask your state rep to introduce a companion bill or a similar bill HERE.
3. If they do not commit to a YES, ask them why and let us know.
4. If they’re undecided, let them know you’ll give them some time to review the legislation and that you will call back in a week to follow up.
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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