Friday, January 11, 2013

Wyoming Prepares To Fire A Warning Shot

The state of Wyoming is moving to protect the gun rights of its' citizens by making it a felony for any federal official to attempt to enforce many of the more radical gun restrictions being proposed.  The bill, if enacted, would place Federal officials under threat of arrest if they attempt to enforce any federal law restricting ownership of semi-automatic firearms or magazines - or any law requiring their registration.  I would not be surprised to see several other states pass laws along the same lines.

This is much more than a symbolic move, it raises several important issues:

1) Does the federal government have the right to regulate CURRENTLY POSSESSED firearms under the commerce clause of the constitution?  They clearly can restrict the sale of new guns under this clause, but how is interstate commerce involved with currently possessed firearms?

2) Does the state of Wyoming have the right to enable members of its' unorganized militia (under current law, adult males between 18-45 - but likely women would be included under any court ruling) to possess these rifles and magazines because they would be useful if they should be called upon?  (Provided that they are not prohibited persons.)  Furthermore, since any citizen can be called upon to assist law enforcement, can the state permit all adults to posses such weapons for this purpose?  (City laws requiring every household to have a firearm and ammunition have been upheld on this basis.)

3) If this law is passed in several states, and a federal law requiring registration or confiscation of the rifles and magazines in question is passed, how far is the federal government prepared to go to enforce it?  Will they invade these states in order to do so?  Will state officials resist?  Will the National Guard units obey orders from the Governor or the President?  Will local law enforcement resist?  Will the US Military be willing to intervene, or will many individual soldiers refuse to carry out an order they believe to be illegal?  (Visit if you don't believe many military members are already thinking about what they will  do in this situation.)

Many people in the Northeast and urban West Coast, have no idea how seriously the vast majority of people in the mountain West or even the South (not to mention Alaska!) value their 2nd Amendment rights.  Many believe - as did the Founding Fathers - that a public armed with weapons equal to (or at least close to) the personal weapons of the national army is a check against an out of control Federal government.  They believe that the 2nd Amendment is not about hunting - it's about freedom.  These people see this in the same way as inner city black citizens would see the re-establishment of slavery in violation of the 13th Amendment.  They would not see resistance as rebellion, they would see it as supporting the Constitution.  As Charles Krauthammer has warned, such action will lead to a civil war.

There are many things that can be done, short of national registration or confiscation of legally owned firearms.  Congress and the administration should focus on these measures.  I pray they realize that should they cross the line set forth in this bill, they are playing with fire in a room full of gasoline.

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