LITTLE ROCK, AR., Mar. 16, 2015 – Any new federal gun control measure would be effectively blocked in Arkansas if a bill filed last week passes into law.
Introduced by Rep. David Meeks, House Bill 1601 (HB1601) would prohibit state and local agents from participating in “the enforcement or effectuation of any federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition”.
The bill also prohibits the use of “assets, state funds, or funds allocated by the state to local entities, in whole or in part, to engage in activity that aids a federal agency, federal agent, or corporation providing services to the federal government in the enforcement or any investigation under the enforcement of a federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition.”
In short, if the federal government attempts any further restriction on the right to keep and bear arms, whether by acts of congress, or unilateral moves by the ATF or the President, they’ll find no aid or support in Arkansas.
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.
HB1601 would leave the federal government to implement and enforce any such federal gun control measures on its own, with no state cooperation whatsoever. While the state of Arkansas would not actively interfere with federal enforcement efforts, its lack of participation and refusal to provide resources would effectively block such laws within Arkansas’ border. The federal government simply doesn’t have the resources to enforce these kinds of bans on its own.
The way this could play out, said David Kopel, an adjunct constitutional law professor at the University of Denver, is that if the federal government were to ban or further restrict any firearms, and then a local cop pulled someone over for a traffic violation and saw that firearm in the car, the cop could simply give the guy a ticket for the traffic violation and send him on his way.
And, as even the Huffington Post has recently acknowledged, “resources of the federal government are stretched thin,” and such bills would “have effects beyond a simple symbolic statement. ”
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano affirmed the strategy. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL
Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842. The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:
The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.
As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now considered well settled.”
Introduction comes at a time when several other states are considering similar bills, building momentum and support for the effort to block federal gun control at the state level. Montana’s House and Senate passed a similar bill earlier this month as did the Arizona Senate. Since 2013, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas have already passed into law legislation that pushes back at federal gun control measures with this same strategy.
“We know from experience that when ten or more states pass laws that seek to block federal acts, the federal government has an extremely difficult time with enforcement,” said TJ Martinell of ShallNot.org.
HB1601 has been assigned to the House City, County and Local Affairs Committee, where it will need to be passed before going before the full House for a vote. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th at 10:00 am CDT.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In Arkansas, follow all the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK
All other states, contact your state legislator and encourage them to introduce similar legislation to stop federal gun control at this link.
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- Kentucky Bill Would Nullify All Federal Gun Control - October 12, 2015