Saturday, May 29, 2010

8th state to feds: Step away from our guns Alaska governor signs Firearms Freedom Act into law

Posted: May 28, 2010
12:45 am Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

The federal government has called the move reason in and of itself for federal courts to strike down the state laws that now have been adopted in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee and Arizona.

In its court filings in Montana – the first state to adopt such provisions and the site of a court battle over its validity – the federal government has argued that since eight states have enacted their own firearms regulations and another 21 are considering similar plans, that "would have an indisputable effect on interstate commerce."

The brief, posted on the Firearms Freedom Act website, said the Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be the foundation for the court ruling, even though supporters of the states' rights movement have noted that the Second Amendment and Tenth Amendment were adopted later, and presumably could be read to have modified the Commerce Clause.

Montana statehouse

Lawmakers in Montana who voted for the original plan have argued in the court case, "There is nothing in the MFFA that should offend the powers of the national government."

And they contend the Constitution's supremacy clause has no impact because "only laws made in pursuance of the Constitution constitute the supreme law of the land."

Montana's original plan is called "An Act exempting from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana."

The law cites the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution and reserves to the state and people of Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time it was admitted to statehood in 1889.

Lawmakers in Montana actually took the dispute to the feds. They argued, "Should Congress enact a law that appears to conflict with the guidance in the [Montana Firearms Freedom Act], the courts may then determine whether Congress has acted within the scope of its delegated powers as limited by later amendments. … The courts may then determine the extent to which Congress' enactment has abrogated the state's exercise of power within the same sphere."

The lawsuit was brought against U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Montana Shooting Sports Association in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont.

It seeks a declaration that the federal government must stay out of the way of Montana's management of its own firearms.

According to the Firearms Freedom Act website, such laws are "primarily a Tenth Amendment challenge to the powers of Congress under the 'commerce clause,' with firearms as the object – it is a states' rights exercise."

When South Dakota's law was signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, a commentator said it addresses the "rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades."

Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center said Washington likely is looking for a way out of the dispute.

"I think they're going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out the case," he told WND earlier. "When they really start paying attention is when people actually start following the [state] firearms laws."

WND reported when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation. Officials there took the unusual step of including penalties for any agent of the U.S. who "enforces or attempts to enforce" federal gun rules on a "personal firearm."

The costs could be up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines for an offender.