The Alaska legislature has concurred in passing House Bill 186 (HB186), the Firearms Freedom Act. It first passed the State house in 2009 by a vote of 32-7, and the Senate approved this past week by a vote of 18-1. (h/t Tom Mortensen)
Upon an expected signature from the Governor, Alaska will become the 8th state to pass the act into law, joining Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and Arizona.
The United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate Interstate Commerce between the states and 18 USC 922 makes it unlawful for any person not licensed as a manufacturer or dealer in firearms to engage in the business of manufacturing or dealing in firearms. Collectively, the Interstate Commerce Clause and 18 USC 922 are used by the federal goverenment as a means to regulate firearms.
The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act addresses this by exempting firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition manufactured and retained in the state from all federal firearm control laws including registration, as firearms that meet these criteria cannot be regulated by the federal government because they have not traveled in interstate commerce.
State Rep Mike Kelly, the bill’s primary sponsor, had this to say:
“House Bill 186 frees Alaskans from overly-bureaucratic and restrictive federal firearm regulation and allows our state to assume the responsibility for regulation,” Kelly said. “The Interstate Commerce Clause is used by the federal government to regulate firearms that cross state borders. The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act makes it clear that Alaskans will be responsible for firearms that are made in Alaska for, use in Alaska, and have ‘Made in Alaska’ stamped on them.”
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state’s citizens.
CLICK HERE to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s printable Firearms Freedom Act Brochure (pdf)
CLICK HERE to view the Tenth Amendment Center’s Firearms Freedom Act Legislative Tracking Page