A common argument for statists in DC is that federal laws trump state laws, and that states aren’t allowed to create laws which contradict those which Washington imposes, even though our Constitution says otherwise. However lately we have seen an uprising of states doing just that, and reclaiming their authority as granted by the 9th and 10th amendments to our Constitution.
Missouri is one of those states and they’re looking to pass a law that would punish federal agents for trying to enforce the unconstitutional gun laws coming from DC. The republican-led legislature had tried once before but failed, coming one vote shy of overriding the democrat governor’s veto on the law so they’re changing it slightly to delay its implementation until other states get on board with similar laws.
“We continue to see the federal government overreach their rightful bounds, and if we can create a situation where we have some unity among states, then I think it puts us in a better position to make that argument,” said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Brian Nieves (R).
Courts have consistently held that states can’t create laws to nullify federal authority, however their thinking is that if enough states do the same thing that the federal government won’t have the money or the resources to effective enforce their own laws, like what is happening with marijuana in many states. Right now there’s 20 states that allow medicinal use of marijuana with Colorado and Washington being the first two that allow it for recreational use.
(Read More: Obama Uses Executive Action For More Gun Control)
Lawmakers in Missouri realize that getting as many states as they can on board with something like this will help change the overall outcome and help to deter the federal government from trying to stop them. The Republican Senate President Pro Tem, Tom Dempsey said “This can’t be just a Missouri effort. There has to be a groundswell of support by the people — by other states as well — in order for us ultimately to be successful,” acknowledging that they need to take a similar approach to the states who have legalized marijuana.
Under the new law, federal agents would be charged with misdemeanor offenses and could be hit with up to a $1,000 fine for trying to enforce any law that’s deemed an “infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.” There aren’t any specific federal laws mentioned, however lawmakers have said that it will include things like taxes and fees that are directly placed on firearms and any tracking efforts that DC may try to implement. The law would also lower the age for a concealed carry permit from 21 to 19 statewide and forbid local governments from limiting open carry.
As you would have suspected, the Democrats in the state legislature are calling it “unconstitutional” and a waste of time. Jamilah Nasheed, a Senate Democrat in the state said that “It is again another right wing Republican attempt to go Second Amendment crazy,” which would indicate that democrats in the state are going to fight this with everything they have since they obviously don’t believe that our Second Amendment rights are real rights as they’ve consistently shown us.
It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds, as of now there are a few other states who have passed similar laws although some have already been defeated in court. Montana had a law that prohibited the federal regulation of guns manufactured within the state but in 2009 it met its demise when an appeals court struck it down. Kansas also has a similar law prohibiting federal agents from enforcing gun laws on guns that are made and owned in the state which carries a felony charge, however Eric Holder has vowed to contest it at some point.
We can only hope that this becomes a trend amongst the states and they all start fighting back against the federal usurpations of authority. It’s no secret that the ever-expanding federal government has far exceeded the limits placed upon it in the Constitution and that’s a major reason we have the troubles we face. It’s long overdue that its power be reigned in and given back to the governments that are closest to the people and therefore know how to better govern them because the “one size fits all” approach we get from Washington obviously isn’t working.