EDITORIAL: Mission Creep and the Commerce Clause

Image source: patriotshop.us ...and individual States are coming to the…

Image source: patriotshop.us

…and individual States are coming to the fore as protector and guarantor against incursions by the Federal government on individuals’ Second Amendment rights.

Setting the stage, has been the recent Supreme Court decision that the 2nd Amendment is indeed an individual right, plus a flurry of State laws designed to protect individual American’s Second Amendment rights from untoward local laws, by pre-empting such local laws with State laws spelling out citizens’ rights. On the heels of this, there is now a groundswell on the part of individual States to pass State laws that protect individual citizens and their Second Amendment rights from encroachment by Federal codes, statutes and regulations, and the agents who enforce them. These new State laws do so by reminding the Federal Government where its authority in this regard comes from, and its explicit limitations.

Montana was first, with the Firearms Freedom Act, which exempts Montana-made guns from Federal taxation, registration, licensing, marking or record-keeping requirements as long as those guns stay in Montana. Utah adopted similar legislation last session. Tennessee, Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota and Wyoming have done so as well, asserting it is an exercise of the authority reserved for them under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When some 14% of the States in the Union pass such legislation, with a reported 20 additional States considering legislation to follow suit, it catches Uncle Sam’s attention.

First Court Test Underway
Montana’s law is already in court in Missoula, after the MSSA (Montana Shooting Sports Association) filed a lawsuit last year when BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) warned that gun dealers were still bound by Federal regulations relating to all firearms. MSSA wants a court declaration preventing Federal agents from enforcing Federal gun laws on Montana-made, Montana used firearms. “The American people and the several States created the Federal government, and they now want the Federal government constrained to the proper role for which it was created,” said Gary Marbut, president of the MSSA. “This is a forward step for freedom that has always been at the heart of who we are in America.”

Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming promptly joined in an amicus brief filed by Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in the Montana case, arguing that the Federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate firearms manufactured and sold within their State borders. The brief asks the court to recognize that “the 10th Amendment is not an empty promise to the States, but a vital guarantor of rights retained by the States, including the right to regulate purely intrastate activities.”

“These [State] laws are intended to allow their respective citizens to engage within their States in constitutionally protected activity without burdensome Federal oversight and regulation of their solely intrastate activities,” AG Shurtleff wrote. “With few viable avenues to assert their political will,” Shurtleff’s brief says, “States that have enacted laws similar to Montana’s Firearms Freedom Act are clamoring to restore the proper balance between State and Federal government power.” The States argue that the U.S. Constitution gives them the right under the 10th Amendment to control activities within their State’s borders, and they want the authority to do so codified under the various “firearms freedom acts.”

The Department of Justice has asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying States can’t exempt themselves in any way from national gun control laws. The agency says that Federal gun control is a “valid exercise of Congress’ commerce power under the Constitution.”

Symbolic or Serious, the States Mean Business
Although some of the individual State’s new “leave us and our guns alone” laws seem largely symbolic, those of Wyoming have real teeth: Wyoming’s Firearms Freedom Act says, “Any official, agent or employee of the United States government who enforces or attempts to enforce any act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the United States government upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Wyoming and that remains exclusively within the borders of Wyoming shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be subject to imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, a fine of not more than two thousand dollars ($2,000.00), or both.”

Load Comments
  • Topher

    The Bill of Rights, as stated in their preamble, are rules telling the “Criminal Government” what it CAN’T do. Long Live Corpus Delicti.

  • athensguy

    Do the other posters here think that GW Bush is still president?

    What guns can’t you buy due to a Democratic president since the 70s?
    –I can’t think of any.

    What guns can’t you buy due to a Republican president since the 70s?
    –You can’t buy a single new automatic rifle due to a Republican president.

    (I say “since the 70s” due to significant party platform changes after the early to mid 70s)

  • james

    i agree with the col. the only reason they have not made a gun grab is the economy problem which they are screwing up royally. keeping your registered guns will be tough when they do decide to grab them. if you plan on keeping them then you will need to be prepared to use them remember ruby ridge and waco.

  • Mr.T

    Yes, gun rights are most definitely essential. Especially since all those FEMA camps were built and lay empty, even in areas not affected by natural disasters. Also the ww2 prisoner camps were all refurbished and posse comitatus revoked by Obama executive order 13528. Obama himself said that “you are privatising some thing that is; what essentially sets a nation state apart, which is the monopoly on, on violence.”

    Not to mention that historically the ZIRP like Banking system and Federal reserve necessitate either invasion of another rich country or revolution.

  • Larry

    They’ll disarm us and slaughter resistors in the goddam streets. And you f**king pricks who don’t think it could happen:

    1. Nazi Germany
    2. Cambodia
    3. Rwanda
    4. Uganda
    5. Afghanistan (Taliban)

    Screw you. I’ll keep my guns and maintain proficiency.

    We already live in the Matrix for f**k’s sakes. I’m PISSED!

  • Do Not Tread On Me!