On January 27th, Missouri State Representative Mike Leara introduced House Bill 361 (HB361), the “Firearms Freedom Act.” Last Thursday, the Missouri House passed it by a vote of 118-37. It now goes on to the state senate for further consideration.
If passed into law, the bill would make law that “a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Missouri and that remains within the borders of Missouri is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.”
So far, 8 states have passed a version of the Firearms Freedom Act into law – Montana and Tennessee in 2009, and Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, and South Dakota last year. More than a dozen other states are also considering the act as well.
While the FFA’s title focuses on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s limit on the power of the federal government:
Amendment X of the Constitution of the United States guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution and reserves to the state and people of Missouri certain powers as they were understood at the time that Missouri was admitted to statehood. The guarantee of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of Missouri and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Missouri and the United States
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.
All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation, to nullify specific federal laws within their states.
Seven states have passed a Health Care Freedom Act. Fifteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws – in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances. And, massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law null and void in most of the country.
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