Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Handguns from Freedom Arms in Wyoming
Alaska has become the eighth state to declare that firearms made, sold and owned in the state are beyond the reach of the federal bureaucrats along the Potomac, with Gov. Sean Parnell’s signature on the plan today.
“The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act frees Alaskans from overly bureaucratic and restrictive federal firearm regulation, and allows our state to assume the responsibility for regulation,” said Rep. Mike Kelly, the lead sponsor on the plan endorsed by lawmakers in the recently closed session of the Alaska Legislature.
“The Interstate Commerce Clause is used by the federal government to regulate firearms that cross state borders. The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act makes it clear that Alaskans will be responsible for firearms that are made in Alaska, for use in Alaska, and have ‘Made in Alaska’ stamped on them.
“Outdoorsmen, hunters and all Alaskans defending and feeding their families, and protecting their property, should welcome this new law,” he said.
He’s been called the godfather of the movement for his work on the original state Firearms Freedom Act that took effect last year in Montana.
“Since Alaska, like Montana and Idaho with enacted Firearms Freedom Acts, is in the Ninth Circuit, this should help demonstrate to the Ninth when we get there with our lawsuit that the states of the Ninth Circuit area are serious about states’ rights,” Marbut said.
The federal government has called the move reason in and of itself for federal courts to strike down the state laws that now have been adopted in Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Tennessee and Arizona.
In its court filings in Montana – the first state to adopt such provisions and the site of a court battle over its validity – the federal government has argued that since eight states have enacted their own firearms regulations and another 21 are considering similar plans, that “would have an indisputable effect on interstate commerce.”
The brief, posted on the Firearms Freedom Act website, said the Commerce Clause of the Constitution should be the foundation for the court ruling, even though supporters of the states’ rights movement have noted that the Second Amendment and Tenth Amendment were adopted later, and presumably could be read to have modified the Commerce Clause.
Lawmakers in Montana who voted for the original plan have argued in the court case, “There is nothing in the MFFA that should offend the powers of the national government.”
And they contend the Constitution’s supremacy clause has no impact because “only laws made in pursuance of the Constitution constitute the supreme law of the land.”
Montana’s original plan is called “An Act exempting from federal regulation under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution of the United States a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition manufactured and retained in Montana.”
The law cites the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which 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 Montana certain powers as they were understood at the time it was admitted to statehood in 1889.
Lawmakers in Montana actually took the dispute to the feds. They argued, “Should Congress enact a law that appears to conflict with the guidance in the [Montana Firearms Freedom Act], the courts may then determine whether Congress has acted within the scope of its delegated powers as limited by later amendments. … The courts may then determine the extent to which Congress’ enactment has abrogated the state’s exercise of power within the same sphere.”
It seeks a declaration that the federal government must stay out of the way of Montana’s management of its own 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 states’ rights exercise.”
When South Dakota’s law was signed by Gov. Mike Rounds, a commentator said it addresses the “rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades.”
“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 when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation. Officials there took the unusual step of 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.