AUSTIN, Texas (May 15, 2013) – On Monday, the Texas State Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs & Homeland Security approved a bill that would render almost all federal gun control measures toothless within the state. House Bill 928 (HB928), by Representative Matthew Krause, was passed by a 102-31 vote in the State House last week, and was approved in Senate committee by a 3-1 vote on Monday.
If passed into law, HB928 would require that the state refuse to enforce almost all federal gun control measures enacted at anytime – past, present or future. It reads, in part:
An agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, and a law enforcement officer or other person employed by an agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state, may not contract with or in any other manner provide assistance to a federal agency or official with respect to the enforcement of a federal statute, order, rule, or regulation purporting to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule, or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity or size limitation or a registration requirement, that does not exist under the laws of this state.
This would make a HUGE dent in any new federal effort to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms in Texas. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Texas without the help of Texas.
After passing the committee, the bill will now go to the State Senate to pass the bill. Senate rules require that bills and resolutions be listed on the regular order of business and be considered on second reading in the order in which committee reports get to the Senate. In other words, it’s essential that committee chair Senator Craig Estes get that report to the full Senate quickly. (UPDATE 05-15: Sen. Estes has finalized the committee report and the bill is going to the full Senate)
The Senate committee included a small amendment to the legislation, removing the requirement that state funds be used to defend agencies against federal lawsuit. In the committee hearing, they cited the supreme court case Printz v. United States in support of this amendment. In other words, Texas agencies won’t be getting sued. More information below.
ACTION ITEMS, for Texans
1. Contact your own state Senator. Strongly, but respectfully, urge your state senator to vote YES on HB928.
Find Texas senators here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx
2. Get active on Facebook. Follow the Texas Tenth Amendment Center and join the 2nd Amendment group for Texas:
3. Share this information widely. Post it in groups, send by emails, copy to your blog and send to your friends. Get the word out!
4. Nullify Locally! Introduce model legislation to protect the right to bear arms into your city, town, and county. Click below to download model legislation for your local community.
Model Legislation: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/2nd-amendment-preservation-act/
LEGISLATION AND TRACKING
Track the status of firearms freedom acts in states around the country at this link:
Encourage your State, County, City and Town to introduce legislation to protect your right to keep and bear arms today. Model legislation here: http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/legislation/2nd-amendment-preservation-act/
There is absolutely ZERO serious dispute about the fact that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states to carry out its laws. None. Even the Supreme Court has affirmed this multiple times.
In the 1992 case, New York v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress couldn’t require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations.
In the 1997 case, Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not command state law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers.
In the 2012 case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled that a significant expansion of Medicaid was not a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power, as it would coerce states to either accept the expansion or risk losing existing Medicaid funding.
In each of these cases, the Supreme Court made is quite clear that their opinion is that the federal government cannot require the states to act, or even coerce them to act through a threat to lose funding. Their opinion is correct. If the feds pass a law, they can sure try to enforce it if they want. But the states absolutely do NOT have to help them in any way.