The Associated Press reported Thursday that – while conceding “this will be difficult” -- President Barack Obama urged Congress Wednesday to “ban both military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in an emotion-laden plea to curb gun violence in America.”
In response to Obama's effort, Jeff Barnard of The Associated Press reported Thursday that “legislative proposals to pre-empt new federal gun restrictions” have arisen in three states.
A bill in Wyoming “would make it a state felony for federal agents to try to enforce restrictions.”
While Republicans in Utah are preparing legislation to exempt the state from federal gun laws – and to set fines for any federal agents who try to seize guns -- the Alaska House is drafting a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for federal agents to enforce new restrictions on gun ownership in the “Last Frontier.”
Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant urged lawmakers in the Magnolia State to make it illegal to enforce any of Obama’s executive orders that violate the Constitution and Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole sent an open letter to Minnesota residents vowing not to enforce any federal mandate he felt violated constitutional rights.
"The legislature can pass anything it wants," said Sam Kamin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. "The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes that clearly unconstitutional. Where there's a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme."
“Kamin and other legal experts said such disdain of Obama's proposals is reminiscent of former Confederate states' refusal to comply with federal law extending equal rights for blacks after the Civil War,” Barnard wrote further. However, “Kamin and other legal experts” appear to be getting a bit ahead of themselves.
"Obama's proposals" are not "federal law."
"The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution” states:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."
The concept of federal supremacy was developed by Chief Justice John Marshall, who led the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835.
According to Marshall's Interpretation of the National Supremacy Clause on FindLaw.com, the supremacy of federal laws over state laws applies only to “constitutional laws enacted by Congress.”
In argument, however, it has been contended, that if a law passed by a State, in the exercise of its acknowledged sovereignty, comes into conflict with a law passed by Congress in pursuance of the Constitution, they affect the subject, and each other, like equal opposing powers.
But the framers of our Constitution foresaw this state of things, and provided for it, by declaring the supremacy not only of itself, but of the laws made in pursuance of it. The nullity of an act, inconsistent with the Constitution, is produced by the declaration, that the Constitution is the supreme law.
Equal rights for blacks were established through the abolishment of slavery by the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865 – and by the Fifteenth Amendment -- not by a presidential executive order.
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
During her speech regarding the Constitution and the rule of law -- delivered to West Point cadets in 2007 -- even then-Dean of Harvard Law Elena Kagan – later to become Obama’s Supreme Court nominee – called fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law "the foundation stone of our society" and said that Article VI of the U.S. Constitution demands that military officers and every other government official swear loyalty not to a general or a president, but to the United States Constitution.
Then there is Obama’s effort – and the media’s endeavor to assist in the president’s venture -- to confuse and misinform the public on the definition of “assault weapons.”
Case and point, CBS reported on Dec. 15 that -- during the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut -- Adam Lanza “sprayed two classrooms at the school with relentless fire from a semi-automatic assault rifle.”
According to About.com -- “the U.S. Department of Defense has long defined assault rifles as fully automatic rifles used for military purposes.”
Semi-automatic weapons – such as the Remington Bushmaster .223 used by Lanza -- fire one shot with each pull of the trigger.
“Assault weapons” – fully-automatic weapons, which can spray fire with a single pull of the trigger --have been banned in the U.S. since the National Firearms Act of 1934.
Another misconception -- being pushed by Obama, Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu and liberal media gun-control advocates like Katie Couric -- is that the Second Amendment provides for "hunting" and "sports shooting."
Despite that effort, Friday's Rasmussen survey showed that 72 percent "of those with a gun in their family regard the Second Amendment as a protection against tyranny" as well as 57 percent "of those without a gun in their home."
"Let's be realistic," Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told an interviewer on PBS' “Nevada Week in Review” Jan 11. "In the Senate, we're going to do what we think can get through the House and I'm not going to go through a bunch of these gyrations just to say we've done something. If we're really legislators, the purpose of it is to pass legislation."
Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it.
Despite Reid’s implication that “maybe” gun control would stand a chance in the Senate, The Hill reported Thursday that several Senate Democrats “who are up for reelection in 2014 indicated they’re likely to oppose the measures.”
“Absent action by Congress,” Barnard wrote, “all that remains are 23 executive orders Obama announced that apply only to the federal government, not local or state law enforcement.”
In other words, until Congress passes a law that bans semi-automatic weapons “and large-capacity magazines,” Obama’s executive orders on gun control will not take precedence over the laws passed by individual states.