NEWS: Will Indiana Nullify Federal Gun Laws?

Indiana state senators Tomes, Kruse, Nugent, Smith, Schneider, Banks and Waltz have co-sponsored the “Firearms Freedom Act” (SB0291) – for the 2011 legislative session. The bill provides that

“a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that: (1) is manufactured commercially or privately in Indiana from basic materials; (2) can be manufactured without the inclusion of any significant parts imported from another state; and (3) remains within the borders of Indiana; is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.”

While the bill’s title focuses solely federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s mandate that powers not delegated to the federal government are “reserved to the states, respectively, or to the people.”

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in Pursuance thereof

Several states have filled bills opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and a few like Wyoming and Maine have included penalties for Federal Agents who attempt to enforce a law the state claims is unconstitutional.  It should not be surprising that there are those who oppose these ideas.  The Tenth Amendment has become interesting, and the debate will be fierce.  It is incumbent on those of us who favor checks and balances as a safeguard to essential liberty as cumbersome as it may be over the expediency of a totalitarian system to be able to articulate the message, and calmly refute all the screams of the ‘status quo’ who are shocked and angry that this debate has been opened up again.

NPR posted on its website an editorial by Christopher Weaver against these proposed laws.  The opinion piece really had no substance and is not really even worth checking out which is why I am not providing a link, but Christopher introduces an argument that I feel will be a keynote argument against these types of legislation: The Supremacy Clause.   Mr. Weaver cites an e-mail he received from Timothy Jost, a Washington and Lee University law professor; “This is blatantly, flagrantly unconstitutional. Federal law is supreme to state law and states cannot punish its enforcement.”  as his proof that any such law is unfounded.

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Two Short Conversations

In this video from last spring, Dr. Thomas E. Woods, Jr. debates Professor Neil Siegel about nullification.  Siegel takes the position against nullification.

However, at about 11:13 in the video, Professor Siegel says,

“…you might have arguments that the federal law itself is not valid and therefore not supreme under the supremacy clause…”

And at about 23:38, talking about the health care law, he says,

“…no justice is going to say that states can opt out of otherwise valid federal law.  No one is going to make that argument.  The question is, ‘is this valid federal law?’…”

So we see that the disagreement really isn’t about whether nullification is legal.  Even the opponent of nullification agrees that nobody has to follow an invalid federal law.  The debate is really about who determines that a federal law is valid or invalid?  Do the states and the people have that power, or does the supreme court dictate to us whether something is “a valid federal law”?  Let’s look at two simple conversations addressing this question.

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Nebraska to Consider Health Care Freedom Act

Introduced in Nebraska last week is LB219, the Health Care Freedom Act. From the bill text:

(1) No individual, employer, or health care provider shall be compelled directly or indirectly to participate in a health care system.

(2)(a) Any person may make direct payment for a lawful health care service provided to him or her or his or her dependent without the imposition of any fine or penalty. An employer may make direct payment for a lawful health care service provided to an employee or such employee’s dependent without the imposition of any fine or penalty.

The goal? To form a state barrier against health insurance mandates coming from Washington DC.

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Left Wing Tenther Movement Growing?

Last week, Illinois saw the introduction of House Bill 30 – an attempt to legalize the use of marijuana for certain medicinal purposes. If passed, Illinois would join 15 other states – most recently, Arizona – who are actively defying federal law in regards to marijuana.

Defiance just might be the best word for it, too. Laws on the books in Congress hold marijuana to be illegal under all circumstances. And, more importantly, a 2005 Supreme Court ruling gave the opinion that all state marijuana programs were illegal as well.

At the time that ruling came down (Gonzales v Raich), there were 10 states with active medical marijuana programs. How many of those states took the Supreme Court’s advice and shut down their programs? Count ‘em. Zero. And 5 additional states have added on since then.

But, I digress.

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Government Haters versus Government Lovers

Everytime I hear someone on the left speak its always ‘they hate government’ as if loving government was a virtue that makes us humane people and not loving it makes it seem like a psychological character flaw. It seems that loving government is mandatory for the left. The reason for this is that the left sees government as a caretaker of society much like a benevolent parent takes care of their children and only ungrateful children would treat it with disrespect.

This is the relationship the left has with government in that it has to care about them in the same way a child demands the parent takes care of them. Children are very demanding and they will hand over whatever power they have to the parent in order for its needs to be taken care of simply because the child has no choice. It’s not until the child gets older and has the ability to take care of themselves that it begins to rebel against the authority of its parents. This is why the leftist keep telling us that we can’t survive without government because that dependence maintains the infantile state in which we surrender our freedom to it. Perpetual childhood is where the authoritarians want to keep us in because children don’t have the power to disobey.

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Firearms Freedom Act introduced in Virginia

Introduced by Virginia Delegate Charles Carrico, Sr is House Bill 1731 (HB1731), the Firearms Freedom Act (FFA). The bill declares that:

firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition that are manufactured commercially or privately in Virginia, and that remain within the borders of Virginia, shall not be subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce.

Since 2009, 8 states have passed similar legislation as law – Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Alaska and Arizona. And, here at the Tenth Amendment Center we expect to see at least a dozen other states consider Firearms Freedom Acts in 2011.

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Sovereignty for Indiana?

Introduced by Indiana State Senators Thomes and Kruse, Senate Concurrent Resolution 7 (SCR0007) is a legislative statement “claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over certain powers, serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates, and providing that certain federal legislation be prohibited or repealed.”…

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Tenthers to the Right and Tenthers to the Left

While a barrage of state-level legislation on health freedom, firearms freedom and the like give many people the impression that Tenther ideology is somehow the exclusive purview of the political right, they often forget that state-level resistance to the 2005 Real ID act was spearheaded by the ACLU and states like Maine.

And, the classic “tenther” issue in the country today just might be state-level marijuana laws. 15 States – most recently Arizona – are actively defying congress, the DEA and a Supreme Court ruling that says marijuana is illegal…in every situation.

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