More Than A Dozen States Are Trying To Nullify Federal Gun Control
Conservative state legislators are taking a page from the playbook of pro-immigration activists and the marijuana legalization movement.
Full text and links: https://reason.com/video/2021/....04/14/More-Than-A-Do
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With President Joe Biden issuing a flurry of executive actions last week to strengthen federal gun laws, state representatives across the country are working in the opposite direction, taking a page from the playbook of immigration activists by advancing legislation that would make their enforcement illegal. On April 6, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, signed the first gun control nullification bill into law.
"Nullifying unconstitutional, federal laws is both legal and it's also the right thing to do," says Anthony Sabatini, a Republican lawmaker and member of the Florida House of Representatives. "It's silly to sit around and wait for something you know is unconstitutional," he tells Reason. "It's time to stand up and fight back. And the methods that we need to use are the ones already being used by the left."
In 1987, Oregon passed a law prohibiting state and local law enforcement from using public resources to arrest or detain people whose only crime was being in the country illegally. Since then, hundreds of other jurisdictions have passed similar laws, becoming so-called sanctuary cities.
Conservative activists are employing the same strategy. While Arizona is the only state where such a bill has become law, elected officials have introduced similar bills in more than a dozen statehouses.
"We know this stuff has been working and the right can continue to complain about the things that the left is successful at, or they can look at it, learn from it, and replicate it," Michael Boldin, the founder and executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, tells Reason.
Sabatini is cosponsoring a bill in Florida called the "Second Amendment Preservation Act" that would prohibit any employee of the state of Florida from enforcing, or attempting to enforce "any federal act, law, executive order, administrative order, court order, rule, regulation, statute, or ordinance infringing on the right to keep and bear arms ensured by the Second Amendment."
Defying federal law is something that a majority of states already do in one way or another, by becoming immigration sanctuaries or through the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana and other drugs that federal law still deems illegal.
"In terms of the method it's identical," says Sabatini. In sanctuary cities, "they stopped reporting to or dealing with I.C.E., and that's basically what we're doing."
Boldin says that for the nullification movement to succeed against gun control laws and beyond, more Americans will have to recognize that the most effective way to oppose federal policies that violate their rights is at the local level.
"The whole idea of federalism is so important because it's the only way you can have a country with a few hundred million people living together with a wide range of social, economic, political viewpoints together in peace. What's right for people in California is probably not right for people in South Carolina and vice versa. And when we see things that come down from a one-size-fits-all centralized solution, I don't think anyone really ever gets what they want."
Because 36 states have nullified federal marijuana prohibition, Boldin argues, there's mounting pressure for the federal government to follow suit. "I think we can replicate that on other issues and learn that localism is really the way forward for liberty."
Produced by John Osterhoudt, additional camera by Zach Weissmueller, color correction by Regan Taylor, additional graphics by Isaac Reese
Photos: Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/Newscom; Nicole Neri/Reuters/Newscom; The Mises Institute; Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom.