States eye nullification to protect gun rights
A pushback against the federal government's gun control laws is occurring at the state level as several individual states have seen measures introduced that would nullify federal law.
On March 12 and 14, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed both Sen. Charles Schumer's (D-NY) "Fix Gun Checks Act," which would criminalize all private firearm sales and Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) "Assault Weapons Ban."
These bills have a long way to go before they become law - if they ever do - but states across the nation are introducing their own legislation to preemptively defeat any new federal gun laws.
In Ohio, two senators have introduced SB36, which would prohibit firearms seizures, registration and bans in their state.
Sen. Jared Carpenter introduced a bill that would prohibit Kentucky from enforcing new federal gun control laws if they're enacted. The measure passed by a vote of 34-3.
The Idaho House of Representatives passed a bill that criminalizes the act of enforcing any new federal laws than ban, restrict, confiscate, or require registration of firearms or ammunition in violation of the state's constitution.
HB219 passed by a 55-13 vote.
In Louisiana, Rep. Jim Morris sponsored a bill that "prohibits the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms."
The House Public Safety Committee in Oklahoma passed HB2021 that would also prohibit the enforcement of federal gun laws.
House Bill 1076, sponsored by Rep. Steve Toth in Texas, would disallow state and local police from enforcing new gun control measures passed by the federal government.
In Kansas, the House approved three pro-gun bills, one of which prohibits the federal government from enforcing gun laws or bans on firearms and accessories manufactured, sold, or kept in the state.
The "Arizona Firearms: Prohibited Enforcement" bill would make it a Class 6 felony for the federal government to enforce new laws or regulations on guns, accessories and ammunition owned or manufactured in the state.
Senate bill 63 in Michigan would exempt firearms and firearms accessories made and sold exclusively in Michigan from federal gun restrictions.
And in Washington State, a state that recently legalized the recreational use of marijuana, the House has introduced HB 1371 which reads as follows:
"Any federal law, rule, regulation, or order created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, shall be unenforceable within the borders of Washington if the law, rule, regulation, or order attempts to: (a) Ban or restrict ownership of a semiautomatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm; or (b) Require any firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner."
No doubt these are very popular measures, but are they constitutional? The theory of nullification dates to the beginning of the republic and every time it's come before the Supreme Court, the justices have come down on the side of the feds.
The courts have found that under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, federal law is superior to state law, and that under Article III of the Constitution, the federal judiciary has the final power to interpret the Constitution.
If Washington chooses to challenge the state law's nullification of federal law, the state will lose. Imagine the absolute chaos if state's could pick and choose which federal law to abide by. Commerce on a national scale would be next to impossible, not to mention the application of equal justice under the law.
Nullification is not going to happen.