West Virginia and Kentucky lawmakers will consider legislation nullifying federal gun laws applying to firearms made and kept within state borders.
Under the auspices of the “commerce clause,” the federal government places all kinds of restrictions on firearms and ammunition.
Although the Constitution grants the federal government power to regulate interstate commerce, the ratifying conventions insisted on the Bill of Rights, making it clear that Congress and the other branches of the federal government may not infringe on certain rights, including the right to keep and bear arms, even when exercising legitimate powers. But federal courts have done nothing to protect individual rights, choosing instead to broaden the scope of federal “authority.” Furthermore, the Constitution grants absolutely no authority for regulation of intrastate commerce.
In 2009, Montana became the first state to fight back against federal firearms regulation through the commerce clause, passing the initial firearms freedom act. The legislation declared any firearm or ammunition manufactured within the borders of Montana, and sold and kept within the borders of Montana, does not fall under federal regulation.
Over the next two years, seven other states followed suit, enacting similar legislation.
Legislatures in two neighboring states will consider firearms freedom legislation during the 2012 session.
In Kentucky, Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington), Kim King, (R-Harrodsburg) and Alecia Webb-Edgington (R-Ft. Wright) introduced HB222 last month. The bill would exempt firearms made in the Commonwealth and stamped “Made in Kentucky” from federal regulation.
The bill’s authors base the state’s authority to regulate firearms remaining in the state on the Ninth and Tenth Amendments.
The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the ninth and tenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. The Congress of the United States has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition; and
The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Kentucky was admitted to statehood on June 1, 1792, and the guaranty of the right is a matter of contract between the Commonwealth and people of Kentucky and the United States as of the time that Kentucky was admitted as a state of the United States on June 1, 1792.
Sen. John Schickel (R-Union), Joe Bowen (R-Owensboro), Damon Thayer (R-Georgetown) and Mike Wilson (R-Bowling Green) introduced a companion bill (SB73) in the Kentucky Senate.
In West Virginia, Delegate Gary Howell (R-Mineral) along with 10 cosponsors introduced a similar measure. HB2705 declares, “The tenth amendment to the United States Constitution 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 West Virginia certain powers as they were understood at the time that West Virginia was admitted to statehood in 1863. The guaranty of those powers is a matter of contract between the state and people of West Virginia and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by West Virginia and the United States in 1863.”
Sen. Dave Sypolt (R-Preston) sponsors a companion bill (SB107) in the West Virginia Senate.
Lawmakers in Kentucky and West Virginia join Kansas legislators considering firearm freedom act legislation this year. To track bills across the U.S., click HERE.