Thursday, April 30, 2009

State Legislators Are Playing With Fire

            There’s a new and extremely dangerous crop of gun bill springing up around the country.  This bill is specifically designed to go after the federal authority to regulate guns.  The goal is to get the new law into the courts, and ultimately before the Supreme Court, to challenge the federal authority to regulate guns through interstate commerce laws. These legislators, egged on by gun extremists and anti-federal government devotees, are playing with fire. 

            Here’s how it works:  Montana has just passed legislation that says guns manufactured in Montana, and sold to people who intend to keep these guns in Montana, are exempt from federal gun laws and regulations.  This means licensed gun dealers do not need to run background checks on people buying these specially stamped “Made in Montana” guns.  And because Montana has very few state laws pertaining to gun possession, many of those exempt from owning a gun under federal law will be free and clear to own guns under this new state law.  This includes people who have been convicted of domestic violence offenses, those currently subject to a restraining order, and children as young as the age of 14.  And of course, because state borders are open and unguarded there is little to stop people from taking these “Made in Montana” guns to other states.  Wow, talk about creating a system ripe for abuse. 

            But Montana is not the only state looking to make it legal for dangerous people and children to buy guns.  Similar legislation has been introduced in Alaska, Texas, Colorado, and Tennessee.  This week, a Texas House committee held hearings on a bill that would not only exempt Texas-made firearms, gun accessories and ammunition sold within the state from federal gun regulations but would also add the provision that the Texas Attorney General’s office defend any Texans who are prosecuted by the federal government because of this law. 

            Putting aside the fact that exempting guns from federal regulations is an incredibly bad and recklessly dangerous idea, these bills fly in the face of everything this country stands for.   They are meant to undermine our federal system of government.  If states can exempt themselves from federal gun laws what else can they opt out of?  

          Let's hope the courts act quickly and decisively to shut down this clearly unconstitutional law.  Shame on legislators for supporting these bills that are not only dangerous, but blatantly anti-American.