Dear Fellow Survivalist;
As President Biden’s rhetoric about gun control has heated up, various state legislatures have been working on passing laws to make their states “Second Amendment Sanctuary States.” This, of course, isn’t a popular idea with the current administration, which has been threatening legal action against those states.
This gets into some sticky areas of the law, as the 10th Amendment to the Constitution reserves powers not specifically designated in the Constitution as federal powers for the states. One could easily think that this Amendment means that the states have primacy to pass their own laws over most things, as the Constitution itself doesn’t mention many specific laws, but rather deals with the formation and structure of the federal government.
But as we all know, the federal government has a lot of power over the states, quite possibly more than the Founding Fathers intended. Mostly this has come from a rather loose interpretation of the interstate commerce clause, which allows the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. This is the hook they’ve used to gain control over firearms at the federal level.
By and large, states can make laws that are more restrictive than what the federal government does, but they can’t make them less restrictive. That’s where things get sticky for us. States really can’t eliminate federal restrictions on things like fully-automatic firearms, because the federal law would still be in effect. But what they can do and what some states are doing is to say that state officials won’t enforce those federal laws and regulations.
This is made clear by the supremacy clause in the Constitution (article VI, section 2). It clearly states both federal law and the Constitution take precedence over any state law, whenever there is a conflict.
When Kansas passed a law allowing for the manufacture and sale of suppressors in their state, they ran afoul of federal regulations. They assumed that they could pass that law and get away with it, as long as none of those suppressors crossed state lines. But when a manufacturer started advertising their in-state suppressors for sale, they and one customer were arrested and tried by federal authorities.
Fortunately, it has already been well established by the Supreme Court that the federal government cannot force states to enforce federal law. What this means is that if the current administration or Congress passes laws, regulations or executive orders that disallow the manufacture, sale or use of any particular firearm or firearm accessory, it’s up to the feds to enforce that law. They can’t lean on states to do it for them.
That’s really what these sanctuary laws do. Let’s be clear on that. They don’t and can’t nullify federal law, no matter what state legislatures write into those laws. Federal agents, which can’t be kept out of the state, can still enforce those laws. We just don’t have to worry about state officials, including state and local law enforcement officers, helping them to enforce those laws. Maybe, with a little bit of luck, they’ll help us to thwart those federal agents’ actions against us. But I wouldn’t count on that.
Rather, I see these Second Amendment Sanctuary Laws as a means for the several states to take up the legal battle on our behalf, standing up to the federal government. If enough states pass them we might reach the threshold where it demands a new Constitutional Amendment. And while we already have the Second Amendment to protect us, it appears that we might need something more added to it, in order to keep leftist lawmakers from trying to take away our rights.
Until that happens, you and I still need to be careful about what we do. While our local cops might not hassle us about federal laws that they don’t agree with, there are federal officers of ATF in every state of the country, as well as other federal law enforcement officers. How much time these officers would spend on tracking down individuals who break federal law is hard to gauge; but it will depend a lot on how strong a message the White House wants to send. Things could get rather sticky.
Of course, like with anything else, it’s the nail that sticks up that ends up feeling the hammer on its head. So if you’re going to take advantage of your state’s sanctuary status, you can keep it from drawing attention to you by just keeping quiet about what you’re doing. You don’t really need to post that 80% lower build or homemade suppressor on Facebook anyway.
Just keep it at home, where you can keep it clean and dry, along with your ammunition. That is, except when you go to the range. Don’t forget to keep your survival gear at hand either.