Montana’s gun-rights supporters are ignoring the Constitution in misguided attempts to protect it
In Montana, as The Daily Caller reported Thursday, both state legislative houses repeatedly passed a bill championed by Marbut’s gun lobby that would, with certain narrow exceptions, prevent federal agents from unilaterally arresting anyone living in the state, only to be vetoed by a Democratic governor. In South Carolina, as TheDC wrote in January, several tea party senators cosponsored a bill that would prohibit the federal government from obstructing access to firearms in the state in any way. And, as TheDC reported in January, Wyoming Republicans even introduced a bill calling for any federal agent who tries to enforce gun laws in the state to be sentenced to up to five years in prison and fined thousands of dollars.
These are not throwaway online White House petitions that exist because people are bored on the Internet, or want to make a symbolic point. In each of these cases, legislators have reiterated that they believe these bills — which do not reject specific federal laws, but vast arrays of established government powers — are on firm constitutional ground…
You might be wondering how all these initiatives square with the Supremacy Clause, which states that enforceable statutes passed by the federal government trump all conflicting state laws, with the Supreme Court having the final word on the constitutionality of state laws. What’s the secret constitutional sauce that everyone’s been missing, then — the one that prohibits the federal government from taking enforcement action that bothers state representatives?