West Virginia has the opportunity to join the growing list of states that are tired of carrying Uncle Sam’s water by implementing and/or enforcing federal gun control measures.
West Virginia Delegate Cindy Frich introduced House Bill 2651 (HB2651) on February 6, 2015. The bill has 10 cosponsors – including 2 Democrats.
The purpose of this bill is to create the “Firearm Protection Act” that provides that any federal “law” effective after March 1, 2015 which attempts to place limitations on firearms is unenforceable in West Virginia.
The bill expressly prohibits state officials from enforcing “Any federal law, rule, regulation or order created or effective on or after March 1, 2015” if said law, rule, regulation or order attempts to:
- Ban or restrict ownership of a semiautomatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm; or
- Require any firearm, magazine or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner.
The bill goes on to protect West Virginia public servants and citizens from prosecution in state court for failing to follow or enforce said “laws”.
HB2651 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
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 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.”
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, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Carolina 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 West Virginia: 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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