Introduced in the Ohio Â House on October 16, 2009, the â€œFirearms Freedom Actâ€ (HB-315)Â Â seeks â€œTo enact section 2923.26 of the Revised Code to provide that ammunition, firearms, and firearm accessories that are manufactured and remain in Ohio are not subject to federal laws and regulations derived under Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce and to require the words “Made in Ohio” be stamped on a central metallic part of any firearm manufactured and sold in Ohio.”
While the HB315â€™s title focuses on federal gun regulations, it has far more to do with the 10th Amendmentâ€™s limit on the power of the federal government.Â It specifically states:
The regulation of intrastate commerce is vested in the states under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, particularly if not expressly preempted by federal law. The congress of the United States has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition.
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.
Firearms Freedom Acts have already passed in both Montana and Tennessee, and have been introduced in a number of other states around the country. Thereâ€™s been no lack of controversy surrounding them, either.Â The Tenth Amendment CenterÂ recently reported on the ATFâ€™s position that such laws donâ€™t matter:
The Federal Government, by way of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms expressed its own view of the Tenth Amendment this week when it issued an open letter to â€˜all Tennessee Federal Firearms Licenseesâ€™ in which it denounced the opinion of Beavers and the Tennessee legislature.Â ATF assistant director Carson W. Carroll wrote that â€˜Federal law supersedes the Actâ€™, and thus the ATF considers it meaningless.
Constitutional historian Kevin R.C. Gutzman sees this as something far removed from the foundersâ€™ vision of constitutional government:
â€œTheir view is that the states exist for the administrative convenience of the Federal Government, and so of course any conflict between state and federal policy must be resolved in favor of the latter.â€
â€œThis is another way of saying that the Tenth Amendment is not binding on the Federal Government. Of course, that amounts to saying that federal officials have decided to ignore the Constitution when it doesnâ€™t suit them.â€
Advocates of these efforts say it doesnâ€™t matter if the federal government disagrees, or even threatens states over funding, as theyÂ did recently with Oklahoma.Â Gary Marbut, author of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, and founder ofÂ http://www.firearmsfreedomact.com/ took this position in aÂ