When it comes to fighting violations of the Second Amendment, most Americans assume that they have to take the battle to Washington D.C. But in fact, states can take action to thwart federal infringement of the the right to keep and bear arms.
By simply refusing to cooperate with federal enforcement of gun laws, states can hinder the implementation of federal gun control. These programs depend on state enforcement. Lacking it, they will find it difficult to implement their gun laws and regulations. And with enough states on board, enforcement will become “nearly impossible.”
Several states have already passed legislation based on this principle. These actions provide a foundation we plan to build on during the 2015 legislative session.
The following is a summary of some of the legislation already passed into law.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a bill the effectively nullifies future federal gun laws by prohibiting state enforcement of any future federal act relating to personal firearms, a firearm accessories or ammunition.
S1332 passed the house by a vote of 68-0 and the senate by a vote of 34-0.
Erich Pratt, Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, cheered the governor’s action. “By signing this nullification bill into law, Idaho has joined an elite class of states that are telling the feds to ‘get lost’ — especially when it comes to unconstitutional gun control infringements”
Introduced by the State Affairs Committee, the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, seeks to:
“protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens’ rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.”
The legislation continues:
“any official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision thereof who knowingly and willfully orders an official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision of the state to enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government as provided in subsection (2) of this section upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition shall, on a first violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) which shall be paid into the general fund of the state”
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell signed a sweeping bill providing broad protections against indefinite detention, violations of the Second Amendment and blocking implementation of a federal identification program in The Last Frontier.
HB69 prohibits “state and municipal agencies from using assets to implement or aid in the implementation of the requirements of certain federal statutes, regulations, rules, and orders that are applied to infringe on a person’s right to bear arms or right to due process or that implement or aid in the implementation of the federal REAL ID Act of 2005.”
“The people of Alaska got a three-for-one in this bill. The Alaska legislature, along with Gov. Parnell, obviously take Madison’s assertion that states are ‘duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil’ seriously.” The new law will make violations of the Second Amendment “nearly impossible” in Alaska,” Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey said.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed the Second Amendment Protection Act in 2013, a big step towards nulifying a wide range of federal attacks on the right to keep and bear arms in the state of Kansas. It reads, in part:
Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment to the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.
By definition, state and local agents may not support any acts or actions “null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.” Based on the law’s text, state and local agents cannot participate in any federal gun control measures that restrict the individual right to keep and bear arms as understood when Kansas became a state in 1861.
The bill also bars state and local agents from enforcing or attempting to enforce “any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States regarding any personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately and owned in the state of Kansas and that remains within the border.” Any federal agent violating this provision of the act could face criminal charges. State prosecutors will serve federal agents violating the law with a complaint and summons.
“Sam Brownback just told Barack Obama, ‘Bring it on!’ The new Kansas law is the strongest and most sweeping defense of the right to keep and bear arms thus far in the entire country,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said in a report last year.
Originally filed by Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) as HB2199, the legislation passed by wide margins in both houses. As the legislation is currently tied up in federal court due to a lawsuit by the Brady Center focusing on the section authorizing criminal charges for federal agents, a follow up bill to give practical effect to other portions of the bill should be passed immediately. This legislation would clarify and spell out which federal acts are “unenforceable,” and give a specific directive to state and local law enforcement to cease all actions that assist the federal government in the enforcement of those acts.
AN EFFECTIVE PATH
On Fox and Friends, Steve Doocy asked Judge Andrew Napolitano whether President Obama has set a precedent as many states try to pass gun laws to block stricter federal legislation. He explained that state authorities could legally choose not to enforce a federal gun law that goes against state law, but that the feds need the help of state and local authorities to enforce laws.
“Our home state of New Jersey could not, for example, use the police to frustrate federal law enforcement. What it could say to state and local police (is) ‘you will not cooperate.’ That will make federal enforcement of tighter federal gun laws nearly impossible,” said Napolitano.
These three states have already taken important first steps towards refusing federal gun control measures. In 2015 we look forward to seeing even more states standing up to the federal government by passing The Second Amendment Preservation Act and protecting their citizens right to keep and bear arms.