On the heels of the illegal ATF raid on Ares Armor, Idaho Governor Butch Otter(R) signed into law S1332, a bill which will effectively nullify federal gun laws. The nullification legislation will prohibit state enforcement of any future federal act that relates to firearms, accessories or ammunition.
S1332, or as it is commonly referred to as the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, passed both the house (68-0) and senate (34-0) unanimously.
According to the legislation, it will:
"Protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens' rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho."
It also criminalizes any action by employees of the state that violate the legislation:
"Any official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision thereof who knowingly and willfully orders an official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision of the state to enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government as provided in subsection (2) of this section upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition shall, on a first violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) which shall be paid into the general fund of the state…"
Erich Pratt, Director of Communications for Gun Owners of America, said, "By signing this nullification bill into law, Idaho has joined an elite class of states that are telling the feds to 'get lost' — especially when it comes to unconstitutional gun control infringements."
An emergency provision was also embedded into the legislation, which means the law will take effect upon the signature of the governor.
"This is an important first step for Idaho," said Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey. "Getting this law passed will ensure that any new plans or executive orders that might be coming our way will not be enforced in Idaho. Then, once this method is established and shown to be effective, legislators can circle back and start doing the same for federal gun control already on the books. SB1332 is an important building block for protecting the 2nd Amendment in Idaho."
There is a potential problem with what is not said in the bill. The Tenth Amendment Center reports that William N. Grigg, an Idaho inhabitant and writer who covers the police state at ProLibertate, is concerned that since the legislation does not ban law enforcement from participating in federal drug or gang enforcement activities, this could be a loop-hole to get around the law.
"I suspect it was included because of Ada County Sheriff Raney's successful effort last year to defeat a similar measure," said Grigg. He elaborated on Raney saying he, "cultivated panic among sheriffs and police chiefs by insisting that if they supported a pro-gun interposition measure, they would lose access to civil asset forfeiture funds."
Other states such as Alaska and Kansas have passed similar legislation. Missouri is in the process of pushing similar legislation through for a second time, after Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the Second Amendment Preservation Act last year. Several other states have introduced their version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act to nullify federal gun laws, including Florida, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Arizona.
The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot force or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations - constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. According to that doctrine:
"The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States' officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program…such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty."
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