A proposed Idaho bill would nullify future federal gun laws by prohibiting state enforcement of any federal act relating to personal firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition. It passed the state senate last Wednesday by a vote of 34-0, with one member not voting.
Introduced by the State Affairs Committee, the Idaho Federal Firearm, Magazine and Register Ban Enforcement Act, or SB1332, would
protect Idaho law enforcement officers from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated on or after the effective date of this act, to violate their oath of office and Idaho citizens’ rights under Section 11, Article I, of the Constitution of the State of Idaho.
The legislation continues:
any official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision thereof who knowingly and willfully orders an official, agent or employee of the state of Idaho or a political subdivision of the state to enforce any executive order, agency order, law, rule or regulation of the United States government as provided in subsection (2) of this section upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition shall, on a first violation, be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) which shall be paid into the general fund of the state,
Notice the “on or after the effective date of this act” clause, because this differentiates SB1332 from other legislation proposed in states such as Arizona and Florida to resist all federal infringement of the right to bear arms. These bills would end state compliance with all federal firearms laws. The Idaho bill would apply to future acts.
William N. Grigg, an Idaho inhabitant and writer who covers the police state at ProLibertate, worries that a portion of the legislative intent section of the bill which says that the proposal is not intended to ban law enforcement from participating in federal drug or gang enforcement activities could be used as a loop-hole around the ban on confiscation in some situations.
“I suspect it was included because of Ada County Sheriff Raney’s successful effort last year to defeat a similar measure,” said Grigg. He elaborated on Raney saying he, “cultivated panic among sheriffs and police chiefs by insisting that if they supported a pro-gun interposition measure, they would lose access to civil asset forfeiture funds.”
Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey considered the legislation a good start. “This is an important first step for Idaho,” he said. “Getting this law passed will ensure that any new plans or executive orders that might be coming our way will not be enforced in Idaho. Then, once this method is established and shown to be effective, legislators can circle back and start doing the same for federal gun control already on the books. SB1332 is an important building block for protecting the 2nd Amendment in Idaho.”
Despite the concerns, passage of the bill would represent a giant step forward in protecting the right to keep and bear arms in Idaho. As it stands now, state and local law enforcement will cooperate with all future firearms laws.
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.
We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. 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.
Idaho has a chance to succeed where it did not last year, in limiting the feds’ ability to grab guns. It’s still early in the process for this bill, and that’s exactly why Idahoans should get involved now.