JACKSON, Miss. (Feb. 13, 2016) – Two bills introduced in the Mississippi House would bar state enforcement of any future federal gun control measures, an effective method to block them in practice within the state.

Rep. Herb Frierson (R-Poplarville) introduced House Bill 760 (HB760) on Feb. 8. The legislation would prohibit any state agency, political subdivision, or their employees from knowingly and willingly participating in any way in the enforcement of any future federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition. It would also bar the utilization of any state assets, state funds, or funds allocated by the state to local entities for enforcement of the same.

Rep. Mark Formby (R-Picayune), along with 13 cosponsors, introduced a similar bill (HB782) on the same day. The only practical difference between the two bills is that in Formby’s version noncooperation kicks in if the federal act “would be contrary to Section 12, Article 3, Mississippi Constitution of 1890.”

If passed into law, HB782 would require further action to effectuate. A lawsuit would be needed, or the state would need to create some mechanism to determine whether a federal action was contrary to the Mississippi constitution. On the other hand, HB760 would have immediate effect, banning cooperation with any future federal gun control.

Both of these bills would also contain provisions making changes to the state’s conceal carry laws.

Two other bills (HERE and HERE) that would set the stage for nullifying future federal gun control are also pending in the Mississippi Senate.


Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from the states.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun laws. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states can nullify in effect many federal actions. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control schemes, the states can effectively bring them down.”


Both bills rest on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. 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. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”


Both HB760 and HB782 were referred to House Judiciary B Committee, where they will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the full House for consideration.


In Mississippi, follow all the steps to support this legislation 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.

Mike Maharrey

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