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Florida lawmakers seek end to cooperating with Obama's gun dictates

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With President Barack Obama set to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, in which he will likely address immigration, gun control, and other issues, a Florida state lawmaker on Monday introduced a bill that would prohibit any state agency from cooperating with enforcement of federal gun laws whether they be passed by congress or passed by a stroke of Obama's pen, according to the Tenth Amendment Center.

State Rep. Dane Eagle (R-Cape Coral) introduced HB733 the Second Amendment Protection Act, which declares that no agent of Florida state or its political subdivisions "may participate with or assist federal agents in the enforcement of federal firearms laws, or provide material support of any kind to federal agents in the enforcement of these laws. The law would stipulate that state agents and/or contractors who knowingly participate in or provide support for the enforcement of federal firearms laws would be subject to dismissal."

"The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution expressly provides that all powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. Time and time again, Florida has proven that we have the best solutions to our own issues, whether it be healthcare, education, or our balanced budget, which is accomplished without raising taxes. When it comes to protecting our fundamental Second Amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution, I believe it is best left to be handled by Floridians for Floridians," Rep. Eagle said.

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."

Law Enforcement Pushes Back on Feds

In 1997, Montana sheriff Jay Printz and Arizona sheriff Richard Mack sued the federal government over provisions in the 1993 Brady Gun Bill that required chief law enforcement officers in each county to administer background checks. The Supreme Court majority held that the feds could not force compliance by state officers, according to Maharrey in a press statement.

The justices ruled that: "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. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case-by-case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty."

Florida Tenth Amendment Center outreach director Francisco Rodriguez said the proposed act would make it very difficult for the federal government to enforce its gun laws.

“The federal government relies on state and local assistance for almost everything. One source I read indicated that state or local police assist in seven out of every 10 ATF raids. That’s a lot of help that will disappear in the blink of an eye,” he said. “Now imagine if 20 or 30 states followed suit. It would make it virtually impossible for the feds to violate the Second Amendment.”

Florida Tenth Amendment Center state coordinator Andrew Nappi said Rep. Eagle first became interested in this bill almost a year ago and called to discuss the model legislation.

“The timing last year just could not be worked out. But Rep. Eagle said he would not forget about this bill and he didn’t. He remained true to his word, and we began working with him on this last fall,” Nappi said.

“This is a substantial attempt to push back against federal actions violating the Second Amendment. Representative Eagle has not only kept his word by sponsoring the bill this year, he set an example for others who say they support the Second Amendment, but stop short of taking action.”

Officials at the Tenth Amendment Center believe that a Senate version of HB733 will very likely be introduced in the coming days.

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