Wyoming Bill Seeks to Combat Federal Distortions of Commerce Clause, 2nd Amendment – Includes Penalties of up to Two Years in Prison for Federal Agents Violating the Law.
Wyoming State Representative Allen Jaggi has introduced a “Firearms Freedom Act” (FFA) for the state – it’s filed as House Bill 95 (HB95).
While the FFAâ€™s title focuses on gun regulations, it has far more to do with the federal violations of the commerce clause, which D.C. has used as an excuse to prohibit and regulate everything from wheat, to marijuana to guns.
If passed, the will would provide “that specified firearms that are manufactured, sold, purchased, possessed and used exclusively within Wyoming shall be exempt from federal regulation, including registration requirements”
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 other activities that they see as not being authorized to the Federal Government by the Constitution.
In 2009, Tennessee and Montana passed a version of the Firearms Freedom Act into law. The Montana Shooting Sports Association (MTSSA) and the 2nd Amendment Foundation (SAF) have filed a federal lawsuit to validate the principles of the law.
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition.
When a state â€˜nullifiesâ€™ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or â€˜non-effective,â€™ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned.
But nullification is more than just a mere rhetorical statement or a resolution affirming the position of the legislature. To effectively nullify a federal law requires state action to prevent federal enforcement within the state.
Implied in any nullification legislation is enforcement of the state law. In the Virginia Resolution of 1798, James Madison wrote of the principle of interposition:
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
In his famous speech during the war of 1812, Daniel Webster said:
â€œThe operation of measures thus unconstitutional and illegal ought to be prevented by a resort to other measures which are both constitutional and legal. It will be the solemn duty of the State governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power. These are among the objects for which the State governments existâ€
Here Madison and Webster assert what is implied in nullification laws â€” that state governments not only have the right to resist unconstitutional federal acts, but that, in order to protect liberty, they are “duty bound to interpose” or stand between the federal government and the people of the state.
PENALTIES FOR FEDERAL AGENTS
HB95 includes this principle, and if passed, would impose penalties for violations of the law:
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 ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00), or both.
Sources close to the Tenth Amendment Center tell us to expect to see as many as 30 states consider similar legislation in 2010.
CLICK HERE â€“ to view the Tenth Amendment Centerâ€™s Firearms Freedom Act Tracking Page
CLICK HERE â€“ Firearms Freedom Act Talking Points from the Tenth Amendment Center.
(tri-fold brochure, printable in color or b/w, pdf format)
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center
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