The Texas House recently passed multiple gun measures designed to protect Texans from undesired, if not unconstitutional, federal gun laws. Two bills related to federal gun laws, HB 1076 and HB 928, are proceeding and at the time of this writing HB 1076 has passed the final vote in the Texas House, 100-47 and HB 928 has passed as well, 102-31. The bills seek to deny state and local resources for enforcement of federal gun laws and in support of this deny funding to state and local officials that do enforce federal gun laws.
Unfortunately, there is a wealth of misinformation published that obscures the legitimacy of this legislation. For instance, the Dallas Morning News makes numerous claims inconsistent with facts.
Key statements made in this article are incorrect and mislead the reader regarding the content and legitimacy of the bill’s language. Starting in the third paragraph, Ms. Hoppe begins her summary of a “proposal to nullify new federal gun control laws.”. This is in regards to Steve Toth’s HB 1076.
Ms. Hoppe states: “Those gun laws not already on the books in Texas couldn’t be enforced here under the sweeping and unadjudicated argument that they wouldn’t be constitutional under the Second Amendment.”
It is true that the legislation would reject local enforcement of federal laws. That is the point of the legislation in general. In contrast to the implication, it is very workable in practice as state laws would be put in place as needed. This allows the Texas legislature to draft gun laws that are consistent with the Texas Constitution.
However, Ms. Hoppe’s claim that the legislation challenges the constitutionality of any federal law is false. No such argument is being made regarding the Second Amendment. In HB 1076, Texas is merely refusing to participate in the local enforcement of federal gun laws. In fact, the constitutionality of the gun laws is neither challenged nor validated. They simply deny resources and manpower to enforcement. The Constitutionality of this bill from the federal perspective is clear. In Printz v. U.S., a 1997 Supreme Court case, Scalia rejected federal comandeering of state and local officers regardless of the constitutionality of the federal law. In other words, the federal government cannot, in any case, force states to uphold federal laws. Continue Reading →