By Michael Boldin
Alabama State Representative Mac Gipson has introduced House Bill 48 (HB48), the “Firearms Freedom Act.” If passed, the bill would “exempt from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained within the borders of Alabama.”
While the FFA’s title focuses on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendment’s limit on the power of the federal government. The bills in state houses contain language such as the following:
A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Alabama and that remains within the borders of Alabama is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce, because those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.
Some supporters of the legislation say that a successful application of such a state-law would set a strong precedent and open the door for states to take their own positions on a wide range of activities that they see as not being authorized to the Federal Government by the Constitution.
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state’s citizens.
All across the country, activists and state-legislators are pressing for similar legislation, to nullify specific federal laws within their states.
A proposed Constitutional Amendment to effectively ban national health care will go to a vote in Arizona in 2010. Thirteen states now have some form of medical marijuana laws – in direct contravention to federal laws which state that the plant is illegal in all circumstances. And, massive state nullification of the 2005 Real ID Act has rendered the law nearly void.
Already, Tennessee and Montana have passed a version of the Firearms Freedom Act into law. The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MTSSA) and the 2nd Amendment Foundation (SAF) have jointly filed a federal lawsuit to validate the principles of the law.
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect to see nearly two dozen states consider similar legislation in the coming legislative session.
Michael Boldin is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Andrew Nappi is the State Coordinator for the Florida Tenth Amendment Center. He lives in the Tampa Bay Area with wife Tammy and dogs Emma and Bud Lite.
If you enjoyed this post:
Click Here to Get the Free Tenth Amendment Center Newsletter,