Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. In this case, The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is right to label the various “Firearms Freedom Acts” enacted by pro-gun states unconstitutional. The idea that a state can separate itself from federal firearms laws by producing and selling weapons in-state is patently ridiculous. You can no more quarantine guns on a state-by-state basis than you can avocados. Or marijuana. As Brady VP Denis Hennigan explains . . .
There is little doubt that the federal courts will make mincemeat of these “Firearms Freedom” laws. The first ruling came down last week, as a federal magistrate judge in Montana struck down that state’s law. Agreeing with the Brady Center’s brief, the judge found the law flatly unconstitutional under decades-old Supreme Court precedent recognizing federal authority to regulate entirely intrastate activity if exempting that activity would undercut federal regulation of interstate activity. As recently as 2005, a conservative majority of the Supreme Court reaffirmed this precedent by recognizing federal power to prohibit the purely local production and medical use of marijuana authorized by state law . . .
In fact, the contemporary right can legitimately claim “ownership” only of the losing side in the great constitutional debate over federal power vs. states’ rights. Defending our Constitution means defending its specific grant of power to Congress to “regulate Commerce . . . among the several states” and to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” for executing that power. It also means defending the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, by which federal law “shall be the supreme Law of the Land . . . .” Can there be any more direct expression of contempt for the Supremacy Clause than the premise of the “Firearms Freedom” statutes that individual states have the authority to determine for themselves the extent of federal power?
If only Hennigan’s blog post started and stopped there. If he didn’t attempt to link the Firearms Freedom lunacy to the need for “progressives to stand up to the radical right and proclaim: ‘It’s our Constitution, too!'” The 500 lbs. gorilla in the room: the Second Amendment. Let’s see the Brady Bunch reclaim that one.