I recently noticed another nullification happening in the great Centennial State, and I think it provides a valuable lesson for all of us – deal with things in our own house!
The Colorado effort I’m talking about is an effort by the sheriffs against the state government of Colorado.
Normally, we don’t focus on efforts involving purely intrastate issues at the Tenth Amendment Center. Our work revolves around state nullification of unconstitutional federal acts, some of the most important work happening in government today. I do, however, think it is also important to highlight the events in Colorado, because they demonstrate something that we need to practice more, the principle of solving our own problems at home.
This all started when the Colorado legislature instituted some state level gun control including higher registration requirements and magazine capacity limits last year. Of course, disarming the citizens of a country/state is foolhardy, and will never result in lower levels of violent crime. In fact, statistics show that higher levels of gun ownership leads to lower levels of murder and other violent crimes. The citizens of Colorado apparently get this and obviously did not appreciate the restrictions upon their rights to self defense. They have taken a few steps such as recalling two legislators and prompting a third to resign. And sheriffs have refused to assist in enforcement.
This brings me to my point. Keep efforts at home within your state – don’t run to the feds with every problem.
With all the recourse available on the state level, going to the feds is kind of silly. Don’t ask the feds to intervene in a matter they have no rightful power over. The feds have no authority to tell Colorado it must allow magazines with capacities greater than 15 rounds, just as they have no right to tell Colorado that abortion must be legal or illegal, or who may or may not get married within the state. These laws are not in pursuance of any delegated power that can be found within the ((U.S.) Constitution. If the last 100 years of Constitutional law teaches us anything, it is that the Federal government is un-restrainable, and has no bias toward liberty whatsoever.
If you ask the feds to make your state do something, they will eventually turn the force against you. Not only are the feds unreliable guardians of liberty, they are also untrustworthy, and unaware of the issues confronting Coloradans. The state has recourse without resorting to the feds. For instance, in Colorado’s Constitution, you will find very strong protections of the right to keep and bear arms. Such as Article II section 3 :
“Inalienable rights. All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”
“Right to bear arms. The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”
Not to mention that the state Constitution list the “militia as all able bodied men between the ages of 18 and 45.
So with these protections already in place, you will get much better results if you keep it in house.
If your legislature takes your rights, recall the culprits. Talk to your sheriff about opposing invalid laws. Run a campaign against them when election time comes. Just don’t attempt to sue in federal court, ask for a federal investigation, or petition the feds to intervene.
Once the feds are given access to your states laws, they are impossible to expel. It is like inviting Dracula into your house when you invite the Supreme Court to offer a decision on your laws. You’d better be ready to stake them before they will be willing to leave. Try any of the methods that are used to control your state government at the federal level, and you will soon find out that the legislators in DC will never resign, and have no interest in your opinion. Sue in federal court, and you will find that the courts are stacked against you. Try to get your sheriff to confront them, and they will laugh at you. Write them to complain, and they will reply with a form letter without even reading it. And if you have made it a federal issue, every other
I only bring this up because, as a tenther, I have noticed, for instance on medicinal pot, we get a lot of support from the left. But those same people on the left who expect their state to be left alone to move towards partial legalization of pot, expect the feds to intervene and outlaw guns. And the same people on the right who expect to expel the feds from issues such as marriage, abortion, and guns want to invite the feds to declare that state legislation regarding guns is somehow invalid. The truth is that for your state to have the authority to kick the feds out on the issue of guns, they or the citizens of the state must have the power locally. It is up to those citizens to keep their state in line, not the rest of America.
What all of this means is that two wrongs don’t make a right! If your state passes some bad laws, you are the one who has to deal with it. Don’t attempt to ask the feds for a nationwide solution to a state problem.
Colorado, I salute you for showing the way to limit the state government without involving the tyrannical feds. Let’s all learn from their example. Oh yeah, and good luck on repealing those bad laws.