This past Fourth of July provided a perfect example of the power of nullification in effect.
The city where I live has a very strict ordinance banning most fireworks. As the police here in Lexington, Ky., explain it, “If it goes up or blows up, it’s illegal.”
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There were an awful lot of fireworks going up and blowing up around my neighborhood the other night. Literally hundreds of fireworks boomed and popped around my house. In fact, a group of people on the court behind me set off “illegal” fireworks for about two hours.
Local cops did not make an appearance.
This scene undoubtedly repeated itself across the city. A spokesperson for the Lexington Police Department said she wasn’t aware of any arrests or citations. She said officers issue warnings first.
Of course, nobody ever believed the city could actually enforce a fireworks ban. Nobody. It’s been on the books for several years. It’s never been enforced.
The truth is the Lexington police don’t have the manpower to enforce the law. It would require a literal army to snuff out Fourth of July fireworks.
This is a perfect example of nullification in practice. The law remains on the books, but it is effectively null, void and of no effect.
The federal government faces the same problem when it tries to enforce all of its laws, edicts and regulations. It doesn’t have the resources. It relies on state and local assistance. When that help is taken away, the feds are sunk.