Wyoming became the latest state to enact a Firearms Freedom act, following close on the heels of South Dakota where the governor signed a similar act last week. …These acts declare that the federal government has no jurisdiction to regulate the manufacture and sales of firearms or ammunition within a state, so long as those activities do not cross state lines, causing them to enter federal jurisdiction under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution.
These acts are essentially a wedge to assert state sovereignty under the 10th amendment over a very limited area of interest. These laws will then be tested for constitutionality in the courts (Montana’s law is already involved in such a case) and if they pass constitutional muster they will be used as the basis for future legislation protecting other areas of state jurisdiction from federal interference, including blocking unfunded mandates, imposition of national healthcare and other issues of concern.
While I’m absolutely opposed to the idea that states should essentially secede from the union, I think that these 10th amendment sovereignty issues are very important in reestablishing the balance of authority under the Constitution between the state and federal governments. For years the federal government has been allowed to expand its control and assert more and more jurisdiction far out of proportion to anything authorized in the Constitution. In the case of gun control and in many other areas this comes as a result of a self-serving and overly broad interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, which has eroded state authority and transferred responsibilities from state to federal government in a way which is detrimental to the liberty and rights of the citizens.
The federal government has a legitimate role under the Bill of Rights as a protector of the rights of individual citizens against potential abuses by state and local government, but the states also have rights to be the primary source of governmental authority and to set policy within their own states, and that is as much protected by the 10th amendment as the rights of citizens are protected by the first five amendments.
The current administration is building on the excesses of its predecessors to massively expand federal power and it’s about time that state governments realized that the price for the money handed out so freely by the federal government is too high for them to pay. They have given up much of their legitimate authority and done great harm to their role as the primary providers of government services within their borders. State governments are more responsive to the people, generally more fiscally responsible and ought to operate largely independently. The transfer of so much of their power to the federal government has weakened them and allowed the federal government to run out of control with no checks on its greed for power and money. This needs to end.
Passing these Firearms Freedom Acts is a a first step to reigning in the federal government and reestablishing the balance of powers under the Constitution. It is likely that they will have passed in a majority of the states by the end of the year. When that happens and they are upheld by the courts then it may be possible to start cutting back the federal government to only those functions explicitly assigned to it in the Constitution. It is going to be a long struggle, but this might be a first step to restoring the kind of government the founding fathers intended and which we desperately need back.