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States exempting guns from rules now total 7

Posted By Bob Unruh On 04/08/2010 @ 11:30 pm In Front Page | Comments Disabled


Handguns from Freedom Arms in Wyoming

Joining a nationwide effort to challenge Washington’s authority, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter today made his state the seventh to exempt guns made and kept in the state from any federal regulations.

House Bill 589 was listed today on Otter’s website among legislation that had been signed into law. The governor added Idaho to the list of states that have adopted what has become known as “Firearm Freedom Acts.”

The movement began in Montana, where a court case was filed seeking affirmation that the state – and not bureaucrats in the nation’s capital – has the right to manage in-state issues and actions.

Idaho’s legislation cites the Second, Ninth and 10th Amendments as justification for its exemption, as well as the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.

“The Tenth Amendment … guarantees to the states and their people all powers not granted to the federal government elsewhere in the Constitution and reserves to the state and people of Idaho certain powers as they were understood at the time that Idaho was admitted to statehood in 1890,” the law says.

The Ninth Amendment also provides the state authority for its own rules for guns made and kept in the state, and the Second Amendment “reserves to the people the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Idaho as admitted to statehood,” it states.

The focal point of the new law is a “Prohibition of Federal Regulation of Certain Firearms.”

According to the Firearms Freedom Act website, such laws are “primarily a Tenth Amendment challenge to the powers of Congress under the ‘commerce clause,’ with firearms as the object – it is a state’s rights exercise.”

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association has been called the godfather of the movement for his work on the original plan that took effect last year in Montana.

Since then, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Dakota, Utah and Arizona joined in the effort before today’s result in Idaho. Marbut told WND today that officials are reporting that at least another 24 states are considering similar legislation.

WND reported yesterday Arizona became state No. 6 in the fight.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer issued a statement that the law is intended to give Washington the message that federal agents should not try to “get between Arizonans and their constitutional rights.”

Marbut has warned that under the current system of federal approval for gun purchases, federal registration requirements, federal restrictions and federal limits, the U.S. essentially has established a monopoly on guns.

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The “Firearms Freedom Act” measures being adopted now, he said, are needed to break down that monopoly.

In an analysis posted on the ProGunLeaders website, he wrote: “The current federal scheme of regulating the supply system for new firearms in the U.S. is so complete it might actually constitute a government monopoly on the supply of firearms. Under current federal regulation, no firearm may be made and sold to another person without federal government permission – not one firearm.

“With the natural right of self-defense, people must also be allowed access to firearms made and sold outside the government-controlled supply chain,” he said.

To submit to a government gun monopoly, he said, would be to believe “that the Constitution is an old, dead, obsolete and meaningless piece of paper, the Ninth Amendment is as worthless as the rest, and has no relevance to the [Montana Firearms Freedom Act].

“If the observer believes that the Constitution actually means something, and that those who ratified the Constitution and its amendments had authority to do so, that they understood meaningful terms precisely as used and applied in their time, and that they knew what they were doing, then import of the Ninth Amendment begins to come into focus.”

Derek Sheriff reported at the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center that Arizona’s bill asserts “Arizona’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment and the people’s unenumerated rights under the Ninth Amendment. They also emphasize the fact that when Arizona entered the union in 1912, its people did so as part of a contract between the state and the people of Arizona and the United States.”

Kurt Hofmann of the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner said the surging movement across the states is “a challenge to the federal government’s grotesquely expansive use of the interstate commerce to regulate – well … everything, whether it has anything to do with interstate commerce or not.”

“Liberty doesn’t just happen – it needs to be worked for,” he said. “Getting that work done can make the difference between having to work for liberty, and having to fight for it.”

When South Dakota’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, a commentator there noted it addresses the “rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades.”

Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center said Washington likely is looking for a way out of the dispute.

“I think they’re going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out the case,” he told WND earlier. “When they really start paying attention is when people actually start following the [state] firearms laws.”

WND reported earlier when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation, officials there took the unusual step of actually including penalties for any agent of the U.S. who “enforces or attempts to enforce” federal gun rules on a “personal firearm.”

The costs could be up to two years in prison and $2,000 in fines for an offender.

But the bellwether likely is to be a lawsuit pending over the Montana law, which was the first to go into effect.

As WND reported, the action was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Montana Shooting Sports Association in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont., to validate the principles and terms of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which took effect Oct. 3, 2009.

The next date for that legal contest will involve various other groups with an interest in the outcome seeking to be allowed to join the state groups that  brought the case.


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