Another Nullification Bill: This Time, Firearms

Over at Creative Loafing, Max Blau writes about a bill in the legislature that would make future federal firearms restrictions unenforceable in Georgia. Authored by GOP Rep. Tom Kirby of Loganville, House Bill 732 would limit state agencies and gun dealers from enforcing:

Any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which becomes effective on or after January 20 1, 2014, which:
(1) Bans or restricts ownership of a firearm, including, but not limited to, a semiautomatic firearm or any magazine of a firearm; or
(2) Requires any firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered in any manner
shall be unenforceable within this state.

The bill is co-sponsored by Delvis Dutton of Glennville, Paulette Braddock of Powder Springs, Kevin Cooke of Carrollton, David Stover of Newnan, and Trey Kelley of Cedartown. It has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

Kirby is quoted in the story as saying, “It’s sad that we need a bill like this. We want to remind Congress that they don’t have the right to violate the Second Amendment more than anyone else.”

The state of Montana was the first to enact what has become known as the Firearms Freedom Act in 2009. It was found to be unconstitutional by a federal circuit court. This week, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion.

The bill is the second to be filed in 2014 seeking a restriction of federal power. House Bill 707, which would prevent the state from implementing health care exchanges, and prevent any governing body in Georgia from enforcing the Affordable Care Act. Introduced by Jason Spencer of Woodbine, it is cosponsored by Stover and Cooke, among others.

In addition, Senate Resolution 371, which passed the Senate in 2013, but not the House, calls for an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to require a balanced federal budget.

Many Georgians are enthusiastic supporters of local control. In addition to gun rights and healthcare, we’ve seen it in the opposition to Agenda 21, and currently, the fear and loathing of the Common Core educational standards. This desire for local control has now made it to the legislature.

Are efforts to limit the power of the federal government good or bad? Could there be unforeseen negative consequences? Is the legislature wasting time trying to pass a bill that would limit some future law to be passed by the feds? Tell us in the comments.


  1. John Konop says:

    I am a supporter of the second amendment, but I do wonder how this would effect the fight on terrorism and gangs that work across state lines. Do we have any lawyers?

  2. wmo says:

    Ah, let’s waste time and money challenging the supremacy clause .

    I have a modest proposal, each year, the first week of the legislative session should be devoted entirely to a post-festivus airing of political grievances by our legislators. I’m envisioning an omnibus joint resolution where our elected officials can get all of the Obama-hating, health-insurance-reform-is-gonna-tear-our-country-apart, we-don’t-recognize-the-federal-goverment’s-right-to-do-anything-but-give-us-intersate-highway-dollars stuff out of the way so they can spend the rest of the session focusing on, you know, governing and stuff..

  3. xdog says:

    I’m a supporter of the 2nd amendment too but the issue of whether states get to pick and choose which federal laws they enforce was settled long ago.

    My memories of nullification are of juries of white men acquitting other white men for the crime of murder of black folks.

    • seenbetrdayz says:

      You should read up on Wisconsin and the fugitive slave act. There’s a state that “picked and chose” which federal laws to enforce and likely kept a good many runaway slaves from being returned to the plantation in the process. The story of Joshua Glover is particularly interesting.

  4. Michael Silver says:

    The reason a bill like this won’t matter in our lives is how the expansive the Commerce Clause has been extended. The Commerce Clause, thanks to Gonzales v. Raich, grants Congress the power to regulate everything whether it crossed state lines or not. A state can’t stop the feds. We can properly blame Bush and Establishment Republicans for this one.

    The very best thing we can do for the second amendment is to repeal gun control at the state level. That will have a major POSITIVE impact on the lives of Georgians and also provide a contrast to states like MA and NY so that SCOTUS can’t say gun-control is the accepted norm.

    The second thing is to do to start thinking about a Constitutional Convention to end the Federal monster as we know it.

    • Stefan says:

      Oh come on, Gonzalez v. Raich didn’t really change anything in that respect, the line of reasoning you criticize began with Wickard v. Filburn. But I, like you, won’t be happy until we return to the Feudal system. My manor, my rules!

      • saltycracker says:

        Oh come on Stefan, My manor, my rules, deja vu, tell that to your aged Dad as he moves in with you ! 🙂

  5. jiminga says:

    It’s time for a Constitutional Convention, necessary to return our system to the founders’ view that the federal government gets its power from the states.

    • Blake says:

      It’s time for you to reread the Constitution and familiarize yourself with the founders’ view that government gets its power from the people.

  6. gcp says:

    Local and state law enforcement agencies in Ga. don’t enforce federal law unless in conjunction with the feds and with approval from both entities. 287g and certain local/fed task forces are examples of locals enforcing fed laws. Just as feds can’t enforce local and state law, local and state law enforcement agencies are not authorized to enforce fed law. 732 is not necessary and is sort of silly. If the feds want to enforce fed law in Ga. they will do it as they have always done.

    • HCL3 says:

      If enough states prohibit their local law enforcement from cooperation with the Feds – federal LE will not have the manpower to enforce the federal gun laws. You’re seeing the same thing being played out in Colorado, California, and elsewhere with regards to marijuana.

      • gcp says:

        Interesting comparison in reference to Colorado marijuana law but feds can always “encourage” state cooperation by threatening to withhold federal funds as they did in the 80s to compel states to enforce seat belt laws and to raise the drinking age to 21.

        • Harry says:

          I don’t think the Obama gang will be “encouraging” states to adhere to federal drug laws or DOMA.

          • gcp says:

            Agree, this administration won’t interfere with state marijuana laws nor should any federal Republican or Democrat administration interfere.

            • Harry says:

              So why should the Obama administration interfere with state firearms laws that adhere to the Second Amendment? How is that different? They are very selective in their interference. And not very smart politically.

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