AUSTIN, Tex. (May 6, 2013) – Today, the Texas State House approved a bill that could mark the beginning of the end of any new federal gun control measures within the boundaries of the State. House Bill 1076 (HB1076), by Representative Steve Toth, was approved on 3rd reading by a vote of 100-47 (roll call here).
If passed into law, HB1076 would require that the state refuse to enforce any federal gun control measures enacted on or after January 1, 2013. It reads, in part:
An entity described by Subsection (a) may not adopt a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces, or by consistent action allows the enforcement of, a federal statute, order, rule or regulation enacted on or after January 1, 2013 that purports to regulate a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction or other regulation, such as capacity or size limitation, a registration requirement or a background check, 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). And in those limited situations where enforcement does occur, Rosa Parks has taught us all the power of “NO!” Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Texas without the help of Texas.
Weighing in on the bill, Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin noted, “Passage of HB1076 would mark the beginning of the end of new federal gun control measures in Texas.”
Another bill based on the same principles, HB928, was passed on a 2nd Reading in the House today. Like HB1076, 928 would also require the entire state to stand down on enforcement of federal gun control measures, but doesn’t have a time stamp. In other words – all federal gun control measures currently on the books would be included along with any new ones, as covered by HB1076. The bill will require a 3rd and final reading and vote in the coming days before being moved to the Senate for concurrence.
HB1076 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.
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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