Will the Left Get it Right on Nullification?

We’re sometimes wrongly accused of being a right-wing, anti-Obama hate group. The truth of the matter is that the Tenth Amendment Center – which was founded in 2006 during the Bush Administration – is neither right-wing or left-wing.

You see, fidelity to the Constitution can and should appeal to both “conservatives” and “progressives”.

Frank Cagle recently wrote a pretty good article for Metro Pulse in which he proclaims, “It’s time progressives joined conservatives to preach the virtues of the 10th Amendment.” I couldn’t agree more with this statement.

Whether they realize it or not, those who support drug prohibition and those who support drug decriminalization have one thing in common: neither of them can site the article or clause in the US Constitution that gives the federal government the authority to prohibit or allow drugs. The feds simply don’t have jurisdiction. It’s up to the states per the 10th Amendment.

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Gun Rights Groups Giving Up the Fight?!

Buckeye Firearms Association is a well-respected, all volunteer pro-gun organization in Columbus, Ohio.

MISSION: Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots political action committee (PAC) dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. We work to elect pro-gun candidates and lobby for pro-gun legislation.

Given this mission statement, I was surprised to read the following statement in a recent article written by Buckeye Firearms Foundation Board of Directors member Gerard Valentino:

“We also need to rally behind that idea that the Second Amendment protects an individual right that the government can infringe only when there is an overwhelming public need. Since we have more guns on the street than ever before and gun crime continues to plummet, it eliminates the government’s justification to restrict gun rights.”

Mr. Valentino must be reading from a “living, breathing” copy of the US Constitution.  My old-fashioned copies  state that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

No caveats. No exceptions. No ambiguity at all.

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Criminals Break the Law…So Let’s Pass More Laws?

Those of us who understand and value our unalienable, constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms often use this argument regarding gun control:

Gun “laws” don’t work because criminals don’t obey the law!

This seems like a logical argument since criminals, by the very definition of the word, ignore and break the law. Synonyms for criminal include lawbreaker, crook, offender and wrongdoer among others.

Of course we’re not saying that we don’t need laws, we’re just saying that additional laws won’t stop criminals – who by definition are already breaking the law – from breaking the law.

Many people agree with this line of thinking, but apparently only when it comes to gun control.

Example: Several members of the Ohio General Assembly – including some of the more liberty-minded members – support calling for an Article V convention for the purpose of passing an amendment to the Constitution. Ohio HJR 3 calls for an amendment which “shall provide that an increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate states”.

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Alpena County, Michigan Passes 2nd Amendment Preservation Resolution

The vote on August 27 was unanimous.

The Alpena County Board of Commissioners passed Resolution #13-23 to (1) “affirm the individual right to bear arms as delineated in the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan” and (2) “oppose any new statutes at any level of government, state or federal, which will diminish the ability of the law-abiding to defend themselves and their families.”

In addition, the resolution states that “[T]here is no benefit to, nor justification for, removing firearms or other weapons from the hands of law-abiding citizens while the lawless still possess them”.

This courageous exercise of federalism – that would surely make Thomas Jefferson & James Madison proud – sites both the Second Amendment of the US Constitution as well as Article 1, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution.

Local support will play a vital role in the success of those who want to protect the right to keep and bear arms. The resolution is a great first step, as it gets the commissioners on record in support of the Second Amendment. But, since it’s non-binding, it will require another step to have concrete effect. Cities within the county – and the county board itself – should follow up this resolution with ordinances prohibiting any cooperation with federal agents attempting to enforce acts violating the Second Amendment. Such an ordinance will give these statements teeth.

As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance will make federal gun control measures “nearly impossible to enforce.”  (video here)

Here are some concrete steps you can take in your own area.

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Republicans have a replacement for Obamacare. It’s unconstitutional, too.

Former Republican Presidential Candidate and promoter of the “9-9-9″ economic plan Herman Cain recently wrote an article to rebut the claim that Republicans don’t have an answer to our nation’s health care “crisis”.  The article champions HR 2300 – Empowering Patients First – as “vastly superior to the train wreck we’re facing right now” with Obamacare.

Mr. Cain ends his article with an interesting combination of irony and hypocrisy by quoting James Madison, commonly referred to as the Father of the Constitution, and labeling Obamacare – but not HR2300 – as “government malfeasance”.

Now I’ll agree with Mr. Cain that Obamacare is terrible legislation as well as government malfeasance.  The assumption of power that the federal government has made by enacting the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” interferes with the right of the People of the States to regulate health care as they see fit, and makes a mockery of James Madison’s assurance in Federalist #45 that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”

I’ll also even entertain the unlikely possibility that HR 2300, introduced by Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Price, may be less terrible than Obamacare.  Rep. Price is a doctor, after all.

However I have a few questions for Mr. Cain:

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Ohio Bill Would Nullify Warrantless Drone Spying

Ohio has joined the growing number of states considering restrictions on drone use. Legislation limiting the use of drones by law enforcement agencies was introduced on 6/12/2013 by Ohio State Representative Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont).

House Bill 207 was introduced in response to law enforcement agencies seeking to purchase and use unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones.

“As this technology continues to become more prevalent, the state of Ohio must be vigilant in seeing that drones are used only in circumstances that specifically protect public safety,” Damschroder stated. “HB 207 ensures that law enforcement agencies are only using drone technology for appropriate reasons. We have all watched over the past few weeks how technology could potentially be used by government agencies to violate our privacy and conduct unwarranted surveillance. We need to do everything possible to prevent a Big Brother society where government exerts too much control of our lives or has too much access to our private information.”

The bill states that no law enforcement agency shall operate a drone unless the agency has obtained a search warrant, or if a law enforcement agency has reasonable suspicion that swift action is needed to prevent imminent harm to life, serious damage to property, or to prevent the escape of a suspect or destruction of evidence. HB 207 further ensures that no information or evidence collected while operating a drone shall be used in a court proceeding if it was obtained in violation of the exceptions provided in the bill.

“We all have a right to personal privacy and HB 207 advances that cause,” Damschroder continued. “The bill is a preemptive strike against the abuse of our 4th amendment rights and makes it clear that drones cannot be used simply to spy on individuals and survey our property.”

ACTION ITEMS FOR HB 207

1. Contact your state representative. Strongly encourage her/him to support HB 207.

http://www.ohiohouse.gov/members/member-directory

2.  Encourage your local community to take action as well. Using model legislation

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New Wisconsin Bill Would Nullify Federal Gun “Laws”

Wisconsin State Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) announced on Tuesday that he is introducing legislation that will protect Wisconsin gun owners from  unconstitutional gun control measures at the federal level.

“The Firearms Freedom Act” would prevent local and state law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of federal “laws” that ban or restrict the use of firearms.  Officers who violate the law could be charged with a misdemeanor.

This would make a HUGE dent in any new federal effort to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms in Wisconsin. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Wisconsin without the help of Wisconsin.

“When I took my oath of office on Jan. 7, I raised my right hand to defend the Constitution of the U.S. and the Wisconsin Constitution, and although I admittedly say I’m not a huge gun guy, I just think it’s important to protect our Second Amendment,” Schraa said. “I think it’s one of our most fundamental rights.  I think it was very necessary and timely to introduce this bill.”

According to Rep. Schraa, the bill’s intent is to send a message to the federal government that Wisconsin won’t participate in the violation of constitutional rights or the enactment of irresponsible gun control legislation.

“I think our founding fathers understood the importance of the Second Amendment, especially the way our country was formed as we tried to break away from a tyrannical government and form this country independently,” Schraa said. “The Second Amendment played a big part in that and I think it carries through … It’s one sentence, very simple but very complex. For them to have the forethought for this to be relevant today is very significant.”

SUPREMACY CLAUSE  

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ACTION ALERT: Bill To Protect Second Amendment In Ohio Set For First Hearing Tuesday

Ohio Representatives Wes Retherford and Ron Hood introduced HB99 on March 12, 2013, in an effort to protect Ohioans from unconstitutional infringements on the 2nd Amendment.  This important bill is finally being given its first hearing Tuesday, April 30, at 4 p.m. ET in room 121 of the State House in Columbus. Rep. Retherford has…

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Does Ohio Health Care Freedom Act Violate Ohio’s Health Care Freedom Amendment?

Ohio Representatives Ron Young and Andy Thompson introduced HB91 (The Health Care Freedom Act) earlier this month in an effort to honor the will of Ohio voters, who in 2011 voted overwhelmingly in favor of a Health Care Freedom Amendment to the Ohio Constitution.  Imagine their surprise when HB91 was attacked – by a fellow Republican, no less – on the grounds that it…wait for it…violates the Health Care Freedom Amendment of the Ohio Constitution!?!

Of course anyone who is familiar with Ohio’s recently adopted Health Care Freedom Amendment knows that HB91 does no such thing.

Ohio Representative Matt Lynch, who has 30+ years of practicing law under his belt and is one of the 19 cosponsors of HB91,  is among those who are familiar with both the Health Care Freedom Amendment and the Health Care Freedom Act.  Rep. Lynch recently wrote a letter to Committee Chairman Wachtmann in which he accurately pointed out that HB91 does NOT  impose a penalty or fine for the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance nor does it prohibit the purchase or sale of health care or health insurance:

It is abundantly clear that HB91 does not impose any type of civil or criminal penalty.  It also does not assess and “fine”, “tax” or “fee”.  Further there is no “right” to sell insurance in Ohio.  On the contrary courts have long recognized that states may regulate the operation of insurance companies.  Accordingly no rights are “punished” or “discouraged” under the Bill.

HB91 also does not “prohibit” the sale of insurance.  Rather HB91 merely adds a requirement that those selling healthcare insurance in Ohio refrain from accepting any “remuneration, credit or subsidy” as defined in the Bill.  Such a requirement is not unlike the many regulations already found in Chapter 39 of the Ohio Revised Code that must be met by an insurance company doing business in Ohio.

Representative Lynch concludes his letter with his professional opinion that “HB91 does not violate the Ohio Constitution by establishing a sanction in the form of a suspension or forfeiture of a  license to sell health insurance in Ohio.” 

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Missouri House Committee Passes 2 Bills to Nullify Gun Laws

The 2nd Amendment was front and center in Jefferson City on Monday as not one, but TWO bills aimed at protecting and preserving the 2nd Amendment were approved by Committee in the Missouri House.  Both bills can now be placed on the “Perfection Calendar” for debate by the full House.

Representative Chrissy Sommer introduced HB 162 on January 15, 2013 with the support of 5 co-sponsors.  This bill establishes the Missouri Firearms Freedom Act.  Amendments II, IX and X of the US Constitution as well as Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution are declared as the authority for the bill which states that a “personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Missouri and that remains within the borders of Missouri is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.”

Representative Casey Guernsey introduced HB 170 on January 15, 2013 with the support of 60 co-sponsors.  This bill specifies that “a federal official must not enforce a federal firearm law when the firearm is manufactured and remains in the state and that any new federal law banning or restricting ownership of a semi-automatic firearm is unenforceable”.

The bill also affirms the state’s authority to regulate firearms made and owned exclusively within Missouri, and makes it a felony for any federal agent to attempt to enforce a federal regulation on such weapons.  

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