Jun 2, 2010
Firearms Freedom Act; Nullification
6/1/2010, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell signed House Bill 186 (HB186), the Firearms Freedom Act. It passed the House by a vote of 32-7 and the Senate by a vote of 18-1. Alaska now joins Montana, Tennessee, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho, and Arizona as the eighth state to have passed the act into law.
The United States Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate Interstate Commerce between the states and 18 USC 922 makes it unlawful for any person not licensed as a manufacturer or dealer in firearms to engage in the business of manufacturing or dealing in firearms. Collectively, the Interstate Commerce Clause and 18 USC 922 are used by the federal goverenment as a means to regulate firearms.
The Alaska Firearms Freedom Act addresses this by exempting firearms, firearm accessories, and ammunition manufactured and retained in the state from all federal firearm control laws including registration, as firearms that meet these criteria cannot be regulated by the federal government because they have not traveled in interstate commerce.
In a prepared statement, the Act’s sponsor, Representative Mike Kelly said: “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. 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.”
The principle behind such legislation is nullification, which has a long history in the American tradition. When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘non-effective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state’s citizens.
The Tenth Amendment:"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."