AUSTIN, Texas (May 7, 2013) – Today, the Texas State House approved a bill that would render almost all federal gun control measures toothless. House Bill 928 (HB928), by Representative Matthew Krause, was approved on thrid reading by a wide margin. The final vote was 102-31 (roll call here).
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.
Surprisingly, an amendment was added in committee that actually made the bill stronger. It now includes a penalty for any local government which refuses to follow the proposed law. This includes a loss of state grant funding and the ability of individual Texans to file a complaint with the Attorney General against the local government violating their rights.
A political subdivision of this state may not receive state grant funds if the political subdivision adopts a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the political subdivision requires the enforcement of any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation described by Subsection (b) or, by consistent actions, requires the enforcement of any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation described by Subsection (b). State grant funds for the political subdivision shall be denied for the fiscal year following the year in which a final judicial determination in an action brought under this section is made that the political subdivision has intentionally required the enforcement of any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation
Krause, a first year representative in Texas was proud to see his first bill to hit the house floor move forward with bipartisan support.
“My first bill – HB 928 – just passed second reading on a voice vote! It had to withstand a point of order and some spirited debate, but it’s done. A big thanks to my staff and all the joint authors and co-authors who helped get HB 928 to this point.”
“HB 928 just passed third reading! 102-31 – gotta love that bipartisan support!”
Weighing in on the bill, Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey noted the impact it would have if passed into law. “Passage of HB928 would mark the beginning of the end of federal gun control measures in Texas. In those limited situations where federal enforcement still does occur, Rosa Parks proved it. “No” can change the world.”
HB928 is now being transmitted to the State Senate and will first be assigned to a committee. Once the senate committee approves the bill, the full senate will get a chance to vote on the legislation. If approved without amendment, the bill will go to Governor Perry for a signature.
Texas residents are strongly encouraged to contact their state senators in support of HB928. It is recommended that the senators be respectfully urged to co-sponsor and support the bill. Find Texas senators here: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx
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.
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