Florida goes for nullification of federal firearms laws

Alphecca points to this article and comments:
Whether it stands a chance, or not, of passing is irrelevant. It’s another state that would pass a SYMBOLIC gesture of disdain for the overreach of the federal government. The problem (as already seen in a recent court decision) is that it’s probably unenforceable and would be struck down as (correctly or incorrectly) unconstitutional. Still, it’s the thought that counts . . . I guess.

It's actually a little trickier than that. While the state governments cannot themselves nullify a federal law, their legislatures can certainly declare that in their opinion the federal law is unconstitutional and should not be enforced. They can certainly deny funding for any of their state agencies to assist in enforcing the law, and even provide civil or criminal penalties for state actors who do attempt to enforce those laws. All of those actions are within the state legislature's power to control state agencies and budgets.

According to the communications director at the Tenth Amendment Center, Mike Maharrey, "The legislation would not attempt to stop federal agents from enforcing gun laws, but would pull the plug on any state cooperation. The bill rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce a federal act or program The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone."

Declaring that federal agents may not enforce those federal laws within the state, with civil or criminal penalties for attempting to do so, would be problematic -- but this legislation does not go that route. It just says state agencies can't help, and that stands on firm legal ground.

Whether the legislation passes or not remains to be seen.

This entry was published Thu Jan 30 06:28:11 CST 2014 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2014-01-30 06:28:11.0. [Tweet]

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