March 2010

Downrange: March 2010

‘Tenthers’ are Pushing Back

In flyover country, out on the fringe where I live with my fellow "yahoos" who don’t like to be told how to live, there is an interesting rebellion going on. We "Tenthers" are pushing back.

Currently, 22 states have passed or are considering bills known as Firearms Freedom Acts. Such bills declare that guns,

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

accessories, and ammunition made within a state, sold within that state and kept in that state are not subject to federal laws or regulations under the Interstate Commerce Clause of the Constitution. In sum, the states are seeking to nullify unconstitutional federal laws under the 10th Amendment.

To gun owners who revere the 2nd Amendment, the 10th Amendment may become as important. It reads, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Under this rubric, Montana and Tennessee passed a Firearms Freedom Act into law in 2009, and a number of states are moving that direction in the 2010 legislative session. In South Carolina, where a Firearms Freedom Act was also introduced in 2009, some representatives have taken things a step further. Michael Boldin, founder of the 10th Amendment Center, documents that in early February, the South Carolina General Assembly took up House Bill 4509 (H4509), which if passed, would make law that "no public official of any jurisdiction may require registration of purchasers of firearms or ammunition within the boundaries of this State."

No caveat for regulations under the commerce clause. No caveat for types of firearms either. This bill says NO to all gun registrations, period.

The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. But nullification is much more than just mere rhetoric. To nullify a federal law in practice requires active resistance to it by the people and the state government.

H4509 includes strong language to assert this principle:

"Federal agents have flouted the United States Constitution and foresworn their oath to support this Constitution by requiring registration of the purchasers of firearms and ammunition, and these requirements violate the limits of authority placed upon the federal agents by the United States Constitution and are dangerous to the liberties of the people."

Supporters of such legislation point to laws passed by other states that have effectively nullified federal laws around the country. Fourteen states have now defied federal laws on marijuana. And, two dozen states have refused to comply with the Bush-era Real ID Act, rendering that 2005 law virtually null and void today.

Guns, national ID cards, and weed might be just the early stages of a quickly growing movement to nullify other federal laws seen as outside the scope of their constitutionally-delegated powers. GT

To read up-to-date information on new firearms and firearms-accessory introductions, gun legislation, and the latest political efforts to restrict our 2nd Amendment freedoms, log on to our sister site, GunReports.com.