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New Wisconsin Bill Would Nullify Federal Gun “Laws”
Wisconsin State Representative Michael Schraa (R-Oshkosh) announced on Tuesday that he is introducing legislation that will protect Wisconsin gun owners from unconstitutional gun control measures at the federal level.
“The Firearms Freedom Act” would prevent local and state law enforcement from assisting in the enforcement of federal “laws” that ban or restrict the use of firearms. Officers who violate the law could be charged with a misdemeanor.
This would make a HUGE dent in any new federal effort to further restrict the right to keep and bear arms in Wisconsin. As Judge Andrew Napolitano has said recently, such widespread noncompliance can make a federal law “nearly impossible to enforce” (video here). Quite simply, the federal government absolutely cannot enforce gun control in Wisconsin without the help of Wisconsin.
“When I took my oath of office on Jan. 7, I raised my right hand to defend the Constitution of the U.S. and the Wisconsin Constitution, and although I admittedly say I’m not a huge gun guy, I just think it’s important to protect our Second Amendment,” Schraa said. “I think it’s one of our most fundamental rights. I think it was very necessary and timely to introduce this bill.”
According to Rep. Schraa, the bill’s intent is to send a message to the federal government that Wisconsin won’t participate in the violation of constitutional rights or the enactment of irresponsible gun control legislation.
“I think our founding fathers understood the importance of the Second Amendment, especially the way our country was formed as we tried to break away from a tyrannical government and form this country independently,” Schraa said. “The Second Amendment played a big part in that and I think it carries through … It’s one sentence, very simple but very complex. For them to have the forethought for this to be relevant today is very significant.”
There is absolutely ZERO serious dispute about the fact that the federal government cannot “commandeer” the states to carry out its laws. None. Even the Supreme Court has affirmed this multiple times.
In the 1992 case, New York v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress couldn’t require states to enact specified waste disposal regulations.
In the 1997 case, Printz v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not command state law enforcement authorities to conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers.
In the 2012 case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the Supreme Court ruled that a significant expansion of Medicaid was not a valid exercise of Congress’s spending power, as it would coerce states to either accept the expansion or risk losing existing Medicaid funding.
In each of these cases, the Supreme Court made is quite clear that their opinion is that the federal government cannot require the states to act, or even coerce them to act through a threat to lose funding. Their opinion is correct. If the feds pass a law, they can sure try to enforce it if they want. But the states absolutely do NOT have to help them in any way.
A JOBS BILL TOO
The bill would also declare that any Wisconsin-made firearms are not subject to federal laws or regulations under the “Interstate Commerce Clause.” Scharaa said he would like Wisconsin to be seen as a “safe haven” for gun manufacturers and would like to lure some companies from states that are tightening restrictions. In that sense, he said, the legislation could potentially be considered a jobs bill. In addition, Schraa says the bill would bar medical doctors from inquiring about the gun ownership of their patients, which he says has nothing to do with their physical health.
“I don’t think that gun control is going to necessarily stop a crazy person, a mentally deranged person from going into a school and causing the type of tragedies that have happened in the past.”
The Constitution states, “The Congress shall have power… to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…The Congress shall have Power…to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”
Robert Natelson notes in The Original Constitution that there are misconceptions of the commerce clause in the Constitution, that the regulation of commerce is not exclusively enumerated to Congress and that commerce did not include everything under the sun. The states still have immense power to regulate commerce within their own state and even with foreign nations.
Natelson writes, “Federalists repeatedly represented that the Constitution would leave the states as the sole government regulators of the vast majority of human actives. They affirmed that the central government would have almost no role over…use of personal property outside commerce, wills and inheritance, business regulation and licensing, manufacturing” and others.
Also Natelson writes, “The Constitution banned states from imposing duties on imports or exports without the consent of Congress…otherwise, states were free to regulate commerce with foreign nations–and even to impose embargoes on goods from outside–subject to preemption by Congress or by federal treaties.”