TO: PENNSYLVANIA VOTERS
FROM: BENJAMIN GROSS, LEGAL DIRECTOR, PENNSYLVANIA TENTH AMENDMENT CENTER
DATE: MARCH 1, 2013
SUBJECT: HOUSE BILL 357, RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS PROTECTION ACT
In mid-January, State Representative Daryl Metcalfe proposed the Right to Bear Arms Protection Act (HB 357) which nullifies all federal firearms laws adopted after December 31, 2012. HB 357, which provides criminal penalties for attempted enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws in Pennsylvania, amassed 69 co-sponsors in the last month.
Despite the popularity of HB 357, a number of Republican and Democratic state legislators have refused to join as cosponsors, invariably citing the Supremacy Clause for the proposition that federal laws are supreme and only federal courts can say otherwise. The Supremacy Clause is one of the more abused and misrepresented clauses in the Constitution. Only laws “which shall be made in Pursuance thereof” are supreme, not any old laws passed by Congress. Critics, including those who teach constitutional law in our nation’s universities often repeat this common but nonsensical viewpoint, given that its logical conclusion makes the federal government’s discretion the only limit of its powers. No State would have ratified a Constitution wherein Congress could pass unconstitutional laws that were then upheld by its own judicial branch.
As Alexander Hamilton explained at New York’s ratifying conventionDetails