- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Obama’s gun control push moves states to fight it
Even as some governors and mayors eye tighter restrictions on firearms in the wake of the Connecticut school shootings, state legislators across the country are launching pre-emptive strikes against federal gun control proposals that may never even make it through Congress.
More than half of the states have seen lawmakers push measures to make any new federal gun restrictions illegal within the states or exempt firearms made and sold within the states from federal regulation.
The push, supporters say, is a direct response to President Obama’s proposed controls, which include bans on military-style semi-automatic firearms, high-capacity ammunition magazines, universal background checks for gun purchasers, and 23 executive actions, many of which are directives to federal agencies.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe said he took his cue from a proposal in Wyoming called the Firearm Protection Act that would invalidate any federal restrictions on firearms or gun magazines.
“When I saw what was happening with [Mr.] Obama and [Vice President Joseph R.] Biden, we thought it would be a good idea to do something similar in Pennsylvania” to what Wyoming has done, Mr. Metcalfe said. “We wanted to send a strong, clear message, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Mr. Metcalfe’s legislation would prohibit enforcement of any new federal restrictions on guns or ammunition and require the state to intercede against any federal attempt to register, restrict or ban guns that are currently legal.
Farther west, Oklahoma state Sen. Nathan Dahm has received national — and international — attention for a speech last month at a Second Amendment rally that has been viewed more than 51,000 times on YouTube. Mr. Dahm introduced several bills on the Second Amendment, including one that would declare any federal acts or orders on guns to be invalid in the state.
Mr. Dahm, however, said he wasn’t expecting the attention. He also made sure to point out that bills were introduced before the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., nearly two months ago, and his 2nd Amendment Preservation Act was introduced before Mr. Obama rolled out his proposals.
“This is not a call to arms — it’s a call to action,” he said. “I’ve gotten comments from as far away as Russia, Puerto Rico. If we didn’t have those weapons, we’d still be speaking English with an accent. We’d still be drinking tea and paying huge taxes for it.”
Some states, like New York, have gone the opposite route and jumped out in front of anything Mr. Obama or Congress may do. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed into law the country’s strictest gun regulations, including bans on military-style, semiautomatic firearms and ammunition magazines that hold more than seven bullets — even more stringent than Mr. Obama’s threshold of 10.
But Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are certainly not alone in pushing back against federal proposals — state legislators in at least 26 states have proposed similar legislation.
Virginia state Delegate Robert G. Marshall’s bill included a slight twist. State police would not be allowed to assist in any prosecution or investigations of federal gun laws in the state.
The bill was not expected to have a direct fiscal impact on the state, but according to state police, if federal grant funding was removed in response to gun-related initiatives, the state could risk losing nearly $800,000.
Mr. Marshall, Prince William Republican, was incensed that the bill was effectively killed for the year, saying the fiscal impact statement was brought to him at the last minute and the state shouldn’t be concerned with what the federal government may or may not give them anyway.
“So what if we lost that?” he said. “If the federal government is so stupid to coerce us into accepting this 30 pieces of silver, I’d say reject the money.”
Despite the prevalence of the bills and the zeal of the legislators behind them, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution says they won’t lead to enforceable laws.
“The efforts going on in states right now will be ineffective in and of themselves,” said Mr. Hudak, a researcher of presidential power. “This is political pandering — it’s not an effective or a proper move by a state government.”
Mr. Hudak conceded the messaging from the White House on its gun proposals and enforcement mechanisms could have been better — but that its message was still willfully misinterpreted.
“They were misinterpreting ‘we’re going to do everything in our power’ with ‘we’re going to do everything,’” he said. “These concerns over the executive actions are typically based on an ignorance of what the executive actions are actually doing and the true reach and power of the president.”
Mr. Obama’s executive actions include directing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research on gun violence and directing Congress to confirm a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Mr. Hahm, though, argued the reading of the U.S. Constitution is clear and that the Supremacy Clause, which states federal law takes precedence over state law, doesn’t apply when federal law infringes on the Constitution.
“Anything that infringes upon that is not the supreme law of the land,” he said.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- CPAC 2014: Presidential support for Carson rises
- Palin dings Obama, calls for conservative reinforcements in Washington
- CPAC 2014: Carson 'not sure' what God has in store for him
- CPAC 2014: Gingrich says it's time for a 'big rebellion on the battlefield of ideas'
- CPAC 2014: Bachmann says country will elect 'right' female president
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Vietnam says it may have found door of missing Malaysian jet as intel look into stolen passports
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again