Baton Rouge, La. (April 23, 2013) – Today, the Louisiana State House voted to approve House Bill 5 (HB5), the Louisiana Preservation of Individual Gun Rights of Citizens Act. If passed into law, the bill would make it unlawful “for any official, agent, or employee of the United States government to enforce or attempt to enforce a federal law, rule, regulation, or executive order” which would “Ban or restrict the ownership or possession of a semi-automatic firearm, or any magazine, accessory, or ammunition for a semi-automatic firearm” or “Require that any semi-automatic firearm, magazine, accessory, or ammunition for a semi-automatic firearm be registered in any manner.”
The final tally was 67-25. (roll call here)
To make the case, the bill cites both the federal and state constitutions. It reads, in part: “The Louisiana Legislature hereby finds and declares that the right to keep and bear arms is constitutionally protected by both the federal and state constitutions. The provisions of this Part are designed to preserve those rights for Louisiana citizens.”
In a sharp debate before the final vote, Representative Hunter brought forth an amendment which would have fundamentally changed the intent and purpose of the bill. The amendment would have made sure, in Hunter’s own words, that is “does not take effect until there’s a ruling by the supreme court.” In other words, we’ll pass this, but wait for permission from the courts to exercise our rights.
In support of his amendment, Hunter displayed his complete and total misunderstanding of the nature of the Constitution. He said, “Under no circumstances does state law ever supercede federal law.”
The so-called “supremacy clause” of the Constitution states the following:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.
Hunter’s “under no circumstances” viewpoint is wholly unsupported by either the text of the Constitution – which says that federal laws are supreme only when made “in pursuance” of the delegated powers in the Constitution – or by the Founders themselves. Learn more about the Supremacy Clause here.
Representative Thompson questioned Hunter, and asked “Are you familiar with the 10th Amendment?”
In response Hunter verified he wasn’t, by saying, “No I’m not. I just happen to be an attorney who reads the constitution from time to time.”
From such a statement, one would be hard-pressed to think that Hunter has any understanding of the Constitution at all. But yet, many of his colleagues were holding him in high regards about his understanding of the Constitution.
When Hunter’s amendment came up for a vote, it failed, 30-62.
Bill Sponsor Representative Jim Morris, spoke passionately in favor of the legislation, expressing his view that protecting rights was of the utmost urgency. “I stand by this bill,” he said.
HB5 now moved to the State Senate for concurrence. It will first be assigned to a committee, which will hold a hearing and a public vote. If the committee approves the bill, it will go to the full Senate for debate and vote before being sent to the Governor’s desk.
ACTION ITEMS for Louisiana
1. Call your State Senator. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to co-sponsor HB5 in the Senate. The more who support the bill from the outset, the greater chance it will have of getting out of committee and to the full senate for a vote.
Contact information here:
2. Get active on Facebook. Join the 2nd Amendment Louisiana group and stay active in support of HB45 and other legislation coming forward. http://www.facebook.com/groups/2ndAmendmentLouisiana/
3. Share this information widely. Please pass this along to your friends and family. Also share it with any and all grassroots groups you’re in contact with around the state. Please encourage them to email this information to their members and supporters.