Joe Biden moms demand action
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By Lindsay Whitehurst, AP

With Democrats controlling the presidency and Congress, Republican state lawmakers concerned about the possibility of new federal gun control laws aren’t waiting to react.

Legislation in at least a dozen states seeks to nullify any new restrictions, such as ammunition limits or a ban on certain types of weapons. Some bills would make it a crime for local police officers to enforce federal gun laws.

That can create confusion for officers who often work with federal law enforcement, said Daniel Isom, a former chief of the St. Louis Police Department who is now a senior advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety. Federal law plays a big role in some areas, such as keeping guns away from domestic violence offenders.

Putting local officers in a position to decide which laws to enforce is the last thing police need at a time when cities such as St. Louis are experiencing a rise in violent crime, Isom said.

“This has been an extremely challenging year for both communities and law enforcement, and to ask any more mental strain on officers at this point in time seems to be quite displaced,” he said. Gun sales also have set monthly records nationwide since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Isom is concerned about a Missouri measure passed by the state House that would allow police departments with officers who enforce federal gun laws to be sued and face a $50,000 fine. It’s not the first time Missouri has considered such a bill, but supporters pointed to President Joe Biden taking office as a reason to pass it now.

In Utah, Republican Rep. Cory Maloy also referenced the incoming administration after the state House passed his bill with a similar provision forbidding the enforcement of federal gun laws. Many Republican state lawmakers see attempts to pass federal firearms restrictions as a threat to the Second Amendment.

“We really feel the need to protect those rights,” he said.

(AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

Several states passed similar laws under then-president Barack Obama, although judges have ruled against them in court. Most of the latest crop of federal nullification proposals focus on police officers inside their states who primarily enforce state rather than federal laws.

While Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons, any new gun legislation will likely face an uphill climb given the political polarization that has tripped up past administrations. Democratic lawmakers from conservative-leaning states also could join Republicans in opposing new gun restrictions. Any measures likely to pass would have broad support, like background checks on all gun sales, said Everytown President John Feinblatt.

Those dynamics haven’t stopped state lawmakers who want to make the first move to protect gun rights in their states. Federal nullification bills have been introduced in more than a dozen other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wyoming, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Iowa. In Texas, the governor has called for the state to become a Second Amendment sanctuary.

In Arizona, a Senate proposal that passed the chamber on Wednesday would allow officers to be sued for enforcing federal gun restrictions that the state considers violations of the Second Amendment. They potentially could face criminal charges. A bill in the House doesn’t include those punishments, but its sponsor, Republican Rep. Leo Biasiucci, said it would be a clear rejection of federal restrictions on assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines or other firearms.

“They can do that at a federal level, but in Arizona it’s not going to fly,” he said.

Republican Rep. Leo Biasiucci, reads over legislation at the Capitol, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in Phoenix. In Arizona, a Senate proposal that passed the chamber on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, would allow police officers to be sued for enforcing federal gun restrictions that the state considers violations of the Second Amendment. They potentially could face criminal charges. A bill in the House doesn’t include those punishments, but its sponsor, Biasiucci, said it would be a clear rejection of federal restrictions on assault-style weapons, high-capacity magazines or other firearms. (AP Photo/Matt York)

His proposal passed the state House last week over the objections of Democrats such as Rep. Daniel Hernandez of Tucson, who was present at the 2011 shooting that severely injured former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. If signed into law, the measure would be unconstitutional and lead to an expensive court fight, he said.

Biasiucci compares his plan to Arizona voters’ move to legalize recreational marijuana even though it remains against federal law. Gun-control groups see it differently.

“Guns kill people and are used to create a public safety issue, whereas marijuana is really not,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel with the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “What is likely to happen if gun laws are not followed is people get killed as a result.”

Similar measures passed by the Republican Legislature in Montana were vetoed in previous years by the former Democratic governor. Now working with a Republican governor, the state House passed a bill last week to bar state officials from enforcing federal bans on certain firearms, ammunition or magazines.

Under Obama’s presidency, the Legislature passed a law in 2009 that made guns and ammunition manufactured in Montana exempt from federal law. It eventually was struck down in court, but several states still followed with their own nullification measures. In 2013, two Kansas men tried to use that state’s nullification law to overturn their federal convictions for possessing unregistered firearms, but the challenge was rejected.

“The main issue there is the Supremacy Clause,” the part of the Constitution that says federal law supersedes state law, said Jacob Charles, executive director of the Center for Firearms Law at Duke Law School. Even so, the bills focused on what local police can and can’t do could pass legal muster.

“States have no obligation to enforce federal law,” he said.

40 COMMENTS

  1. Always brave and stronk when states thumb their noses at a “conservative” fed but it’s insurrection to do it to a “progressive” fed.

    And supremacy clause? Really? Somebody tell that to “shall not be infringed.”

    • If I recall, Montana based its “nullification” legislation on the premise that Congress controls interstate commerce, and anything manufactured, sold, and kept entirely within the State did not fall under Federal jurisdiction. I entirely agreed with that logic, and don’t understand the Court’s basis for knocking it down.

      • You would think but there have been prior precedents that are convoluted.
        Wickard v Filburn (1942)
        United States v Darby

  2. When the states and counties refuse to cooperate with Federal authorities when they come to arrest law abiding gun owners, somebody please let me know. Because right now when given the chance the state of Kansas backed down. And allowed two law-abiding gun owners to go to prison. Because they manufactured silencers following Kansas state law that had deregulated suppressors for manufacturing ownership in the state.

    People need to be asking their local representatives and their local sheriff if they are willing to protect law-abiding citizens from federal government tyranny?

    Or do we need to handle it ourselves? Because historically that’s what law abiding citizens did. They handled it themselves. The Athens Tennessee “insurrection”. The “Insurrection” of the Deacons for Defense and Justice. And the Bundy Ranch “insurrection”.

    • btw
      I remember when accused American Indian criminal Leonard Pelletier, was allowed to stay in California by then Governor Jerry Brown jr. Who refused to allow Federal authorities to arrest him and bring him to another state for trial.

      So yes if your state leaders have guts they can disobey the federal government and stand up for State residents.

  3. As a “UNIFIER” the JoMala administration make great brain surgeons… We are going to have such a clusterfuck of State laws and conflicting Federal laws and regulations that it will be impossible to travel anywhere outside your own state without a lawyer… They want Europe and they are working hard to get it,

  4. ONE PART SAID GUNS KILL PEOPLE , NO , NO , OR WAS IT THE BULLET KILLS , , NO , NO ,
    IS THE CRAZY PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE . WITH VARIOUS WEAPONS .
    DARN HUMANS ANYWAY .

  5. Rather than spending the time to fix the economy and mend the country from various issues, he and the dems want to continue their party assault on it’s citizens making things worse. They could have started off with a bang and done so much, but 2 months in and it’s failing. They are not listening nor understanding what the People want, and continue to work against them. Still there are no one to stand up with the support and funding to fight for the 2nd rights of the citizens. We need coalition of people to start now. There has to be a slew of initiatives that the people can vote on to bypass the state electors.

  6. One unfortunate oversight in the Bill of Rights was not having any provision for enforcement in the 10th. The 10th is a statement of principle but has no “teeth”.

    That oversight means we’ve had to rely on the extra-constitutional concept of judicial review to hold back the creep of government overreach. By the purpose of 10A, such power should be in the hands of either the states or the people, not the unelected judiciary.

    • States have to enforce it since it was the states that created it for the benefit of the states and the citizens.

      Of we collected taxes at the county level, and if the state behaved itself, gave a percent to the state, and if the Fed behaved itself, the state gave a percent to the Fed, the 10th could be enforced in a heartbeat.

      Maximum bang for the buck, used by people who know what is needed in each county, instead of common misery created by the Fed and spread through out the country.

    • These power grabs by infringement can be defeated by the people in the jury box, it’s called jury nullification.

  7. “Guns kill people and are used to create a public safety issue, whereas marijuana is really not,”

    Gotta love that subtle jab at Rule of Law.

    LaWz OnlY mAtTeR WhEn Iz AgReEz wItH ThEm!

    • The lady looks worse.

      Granted still images can be deceiving but that lady looks like the personification of “the lights are on but no one’s home”.

    • I can’t stop laughing!
      Seriously….You hit the nail right on the head!
      Biden is a buffoon and I’d be glad, very glad to say it to his face.

  8. “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Constitution, Draft 1, 1776

  9. When an officer swears an oath to defend the Constitution, they are swearing an oath to enforce it as the supreme law of the land, which takes precedent over any federal, state or local law.

    Of it takes laws to help give them a constitutional lesson, so be it. Gun control is illegal and allowing anyone to enforce it is dereliction of duty.

    Leos need to understand what undergirds their liberty to go home every night (in the vast majority of cases) is the mostly peaceable citizenry around them that aren’t gunning for them, even though they have the capacity and means to do so. Likewise, we require them to not be gunning for us and defend us from domestic enemies when they come across them.

    • Gun control has been ruled constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, the institution which the Constitution endows with authority to interpet laws in terms of their constitutionality. Which gun control laws may a local police officer disregard as unconstitutional in light of the Court having ruled on this matter? Wouldn’t abiding by the Constitution in this regard necessarily entail simultaneously violating the Constitution?

  10. Just so I’m clear, federal firearms laws are important tools for local police and forcing them to decide what laws to enforce puts mental strain on them, which is the last thing we need now. So we mustn’t bar them from enforcing these federal laws.

    Immigration laws are federal laws, too, yet we have cities not only barring local P.D. from enforcing them, they’re declaring themselves co-conspirators in violating federal law by becoming sanctuary cities.

    So which is it? Are federal laws important tools for local law enforcement, to be wielded with an iron fist, or are they another party’s responsibility, to be flouted with impunity?

  11. If Gianforte give them an inch, he knows Montanans will come for his head, and the heads of his sons to ensure the legacy stops with him. As it should be. The previous governor is lucky to still be alive. Hopefully, his dark money ties will send him to an untimely demise soon enough. Fuck around and find out, you Montana Confederates… I mean Democrats…

    • It doesn’t much matter at this point. If Democrats think that gun control is worth it they’ll just ram it through. Tim Kaine gave an interview today where he stated the the filibuster can be scrapped since it’s one of the “…arcane Senate rules that can easily be changed”.

      If they decide to “go nuclear” (which they can with 51 votes, but they have to do it on the individual bills) you can bet they’ll do it for everything from a minimum wage to gun control for as long as they can maintain the party discipline to continue.

      I kinda hope they do at this point. Hilarity will ensue. Just the response from the “Orange Man Bad/They’ll never take the Senate/We’ll never have gun control” crowd would be worth it.

  12. They need to write a law that says that no agency that receives state funding can supply labor or use of assets to federal firearms enforcement. If ATF parks their GOV in the state police lot have it towed.

  13. Hate to say this how liberals say guns kill people, but what about abortions. Abortions also kill human beings, the ones who cannot defend themselves, by the millions, that the government does not protect because abortions are legal for what is called women’s health care. I have a license to carry, and I also carry for men and women’s health care to protect my life and everybody else’s lives around me if it becomes necessary.

  14. I’m not sure but I think if a fed cop ask a state cop for help the state cop has too. I guess he could say fck u and shootem in the back when they wasn’t looking, ha ha just joking, but shooting someone in the back Does have its advantages.
    Either way he gets fired.
    I ,state your name, Swear To, blah blah blah blah
    ” Hey Jim what was the part after I swear to do what? I missed it, I was fiddling with the strap on my holster .”

  15. Currently there is legislation pending in Pennsylvania H.B 357 that would nollify any attempt by federal government to restrict second amendment rights in the commonwealth.I urge all Pennsylvanians who are gun owners to call/e mail their respective legislators in support of this bill.Currently there are 64 co-sponsors.I sent my rep.A letter yesterday.Waiting for his response.

  16. “Guns kill people and are used to create a public safety issue, whereas marijuana is really not,” said Allison Anderman.

    Another well indoctrinated communist politician. Thinks a cold piece of metal can kill people by its self.

    Of course democrats (communist party USA) protect criminals not citizens.

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