Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Is Secession Next?

The Brady Blog posted an article by Dennis A. Henigan asking some interesting questions.

We know that individuals can defy the law. Can a state legislature defy the law? When it comes to the gun issue, apparently it can.

I refer to the extraordinary legislation passed into law by the states of Montana and Tennessee declaring that guns or ammunition manufactured and retained entirely within the borders of those states are “not subject to federal law.” Apparently, similar legislation has been introduced in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, South Carolina, Florida, Arizona and Colorado.

Can a state unilaterally exempt its homemade products from the reach of federal law? Only if it is prepared to defy the United States Constitution.

He goes on to explain that these initiatives into States' rights are actually unconstitutional. How is it that gun owners, who continually fall back on the 2nd Amendment for the justification of their actions, don't have a problem with this?

Under the Constitution, Congress has certain enumerated powers, including the power “to regulate Commerce. . . among the several states.”

The article continues to compare these actions to other failed attempts to resist Constitutional power.

The idea that states can unilaterally “opt out” of federal law is not new. Its ancestors range from the 18th century Anti-Federalist opponents of the Constitution, who thought only the states should have the power to regulate commerce, to John C. Calhoun’s nullification doctrine that led to the Civil War, to Governor George Wallace standing in the doorway defying the Attorney General of the United States, who was enforcing a federal order requiring the enrollment of black students at the University of Alabama. In short, on the issue of gun control, Montana and Tennessee have cast their lot with the historic “losers” in the great constitutional debate over state vs. federal power.

What's your opinion? Is there an inconsistency between the gun enthusiast who talks about the 2nd Amendment in one breath and States' autonomy in the next? What about those examples of "historic losers?" Are they good examples to describe what Montana and Tennessee are doing?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.


  1. I see you have as little regard for the 10th Amendment as the 2nd MikeB.

  2. the power “to regulate Commerce. . . among the several states.”

    If you bothered to do any research, you would learn that this means commerce BETWEEN different states. That's why the argument is dealing with guns/ammo manufactured and residing inside a single state.

  3. Kaveman is right. Montana's claim is that such firearms do not fall under Federal regulation via the commerce clauase because they are made by companies based in the state, with materials made in the state, and are being sold to citizens of the state.

    Sadly the Commerce Clause has been interpreted in a way that guts the 10th Amendment. Basically the SCOTUS said in Wickard and Raich that even if the product stays completely intrastate, interstate commerce still applies because of the possibility of the product eventually being involved in interstate commerce (even on the black market)

  4. I bet if Montana and Tennessee passed legislation that banned buying ammunition by mail, he'd be singing a different tune. He'd be all for states' rights.

    "Under the Constitution, Congress has certain enumerated powers, including the power “to regulate Commerce. . . among the several states.”"

    Key word being among. Not commerce within the states.

  5. MikeB and his ilk believe that "states rights" only works one-way.(states don't have rights btw, they have powers)

    When we're talking about states abiding by current Federal gun control restrictions or about passing licensing, registration, or a new AWB at the Federal level anti's like MikeB tout Federal supremacy.

    On the flip side, when the issue is "MORE GUN CONTROL" or one of their existing laws is in jeopardy they're all for "states rights" (even if what the state or locality is doing is in blatant defiance of the law)

    Hell MikeB, you folks think cities should be able to pass laws that are illegal under state law. Can a city unilaterally exempt itself from state law? You and your ilk seem to say "yes", so long as they want to violate the law in order to pass more gun control.

    So you want to force gun control on all states and municipalities regardless of the Constitution, state Constitutions, or what the people in those states want.

    If we try to abolish restrictions in a certain locality or loosen restrictions nationwide (See national CCW reciprocity, Thune Amendment) you scream that people should be able to decide what's best in their communities?

    You are all a bunch of hypocrites.

  6. Here's what James Madison had to say about the commerce clause; pretty important opinion, as he's the one who wrote the thing.

    "A very material object of this power was the relief of the States which import and export through other States, from the improper contributions levied on them by the latter."


    "The power to regulate commerce among the States was well known and so explained by the advocates of the Constitution when before the people for their consideration, to be as a necessary control on the conduct of some of the importing States toward their non-importing neighbors."

    found both quotes here: