After the flurry of new legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 2013, gun owners should consider sprucing up their spring wardrobes with Tenth Amendment t-shirts and hats.
In mid-January, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe proposed the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act (HB 357) which nullifies all federal firearms laws adopted after December 31, 2012. HB 357, which provides criminal penalties for attempted enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws in Pennsylvania, amassed 67 co-sponsors in the last month.
Following closely on the heels of HB 357, State Representative Matt Gabler introduced the Firearms Freedom Act (HB 475) which prevents any federal regulation of firearms and ammunition manufactured and sold within Pennsylvania’s borders. Citing the 9th and 10th amendments as valid consideration for Pennsylvania entering in the union compact in 1787, HB 475 draws a line in the sand against federal laws that are offensive to intrastate commerce and Pennsylvania and federal constitutional guarantees of gun rights. HB 475 garnered 49 cosponsors in the last three weeks.
Despite the popularity of both pending nullification bills, several Republican and Democratic state legislators have refused to join as cosponsors, invariably citing the Supremacy Clause for the proposition that federal laws are supreme and only federal courts can say otherwise.
The Supremacy Clause is one of the more abused and misrepresented clauses in the Constitution. Only laws “which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” are supreme, not any old laws passed by Congress. Critics, including those who teach constitutional law in our nation’s universities often repeat this common but nonsensical viewpoint, given that its logical conclusion makes the federal government’s discretion the only limit of its powers. No State would have ratified a Constitution wherein Congress could pass unconstitutional laws that were then upheld by its own judicial branch.
As Alexander Hamilton explained at New York’s ratifying convention that, on the one hand, the “acts of the United States … will be absolutely obligatory as to all the proper objects and powers of the general government,” it is also true that “the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere, and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding.”
The long neglected 10th Amendment has been given new popularity by supporters of the Second. The Tenth Amendment Center is totally down with that, and stands ready to assist.
ACTION ITEMS for Pennsylvania
1. Contact your state representative. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to support both HB357 and HB475. Let them know you consider it their DUTY to vote YES on HB357 and HB475. Doing so will protect the right to keep and bear arms. It will also help create an environment to manufacture them in the state – a great jobs bill to help boost a struggling economy.
Contact information here:
2. Encourage your local community to take action as well. Present the 2nd Amendment Preservation Act to your city county, your town council, or your county commissioners. Various local governments around the country are already passing similar resolutions and ordinances. Local legislative action present a great way to strengthen a statewide campaign against violations of the 2nd Amendment
Model legislation here:
3. Join the Pennsylvania 2nd Amendment Group on Facebook. Get involved with others around the state. Report back on how your legislators respond to your calls. Build momentum and support.
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING