Walkabout In The Weminuche Wilderness

Herschel Smith · 05 Aug 2018 · 40 Comments

"There are no socialists in the bush" - HPS All of my physical training only barely prepared me for the difficulty of the Weminuche Wilderness (pronounced with the "e" silent).  It's National Forest land, not National Park.  The Department of Agriculture no longer prints maps of the area, so we relied on NatGeo for the map, and it's good, but not perfect. We have a lot of ground to cover, including traveling with firearms, the modification I made to one of my guns for the trip, the actors…… [read more]

Federal Gun Laws Nullification In Kansas

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

The Trace:

Three years ago, in a move intended to signal its profound devotion to gun rights — and opposition to new restrictions being weighed by Congress — the Kansas legislature passed a law that never had any chance of actually taking force.

The “Second Amendment Protection Act” declared that federal laws and regulations do not apply to any gun manufactured in the state, so long as it is marked “Made in Kansas” and remains within the state’s borders at all times after its production.

The law — which, again, was invalid from the outset — also applied to ammunition and firearm accessories made in Kansas. It declared that federal law enforcement agents would be guilty of a felony if they attempted to enforce federal laws regarding these products within state borders.

It’s clear now that the legislators who pushed forward the law were well aware of the unresolvable conflict with federal law and the U.S. Constitution, and that they assumed that Kansans would understand that the act was meant to send a message, not to be taken literally.

But some Kansas gun sellers and buyers apparently didn’t get the memo.

The National Firearms Act of 1934 bans the unlicensed possession, manufacture, and sale of silencers, machine guns, and sawed-off shotguns. Many gun enthusiasts argue that the restrictions on silencers are outdated, and that the devices eliminate noise pollution and may stave off hearing damage.

Shane Cox ran a military surplus store in southeastern Kansas, and after the law took effect, he began producing and selling his own silencers. He assured buyers that federal gun laws would not apply as long as the products stayed within state borders and even handed out copies of the new statute.

Jeremy Kettler, a disabled U.S. Army veteran, bought one of the silencers and posted a video about it on Facebook. Both men were soon charged with violating the federal laws that regulate silencers. Kettler bought the unregistered silencer “because of a piece of paper signed by the governor saying it was legal,” the Associated Press reported.

The Kansas statute purported to nullify federal law, much as states like South Carolina had attempted to do prior to the Civil War. But the Supreme Court has ruled that states simply don’t have this authority.

[ … ]

One of the bill’s co-sponsors, former state representative Jim Howell, told the AP that lawmakers knew the measure’s validity would be disputed. “I think these gentlemen understood that when they made a choice to do what they did,” Howell said, of the men arrested over the sale of silencers.

What a cowardly piss ant.  The legislator who pressed this threw his own citizens to the lions when it came to pushing and shoving, and Kansas buckled.

The author is an attorney for the Brady Center, and other than the discussion of the validity of nullification, I actually agree with him for different reasons.  The real culprit here is the state of Kansas.

I’ve said before, don’t even consider something like nullification unless you’re willing to go the mattresses for your people.  The lawmakers could have handed the governor the tools to deal with the federal intrusion, and the governor could have had the balls to do it.

But none of this obtained, and the citizens suffered as a result.  Unless you’re willing to arrest federal agents who attempt to enforce these laws and throw them in the state penitentiary with the other prisoners, don’t even consider nullification.

Nullification laws made for show are immoral.  Nullification laws made for real are admirable, but states have to be willing to back it all up with force.

Gun Grandstanding?

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 2 months ago

Is that what this is?

A state law that exempts firearms manufactured in Kansas from all federal regulations has drawn a lot of attention recently — from both supporters and critics.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has filed a lawsuit about the 2013 law that declares the federal government has no authority to regulate guns, ammunition and accessories manufactured, sold and kept in Kansas. The Brady Center said the law is an unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal gun laws.

Gov. Sam Brownback’s re-election campaign used the lawsuit as a springboard to send out a fundraising email saying the Brady Center was suing the governor “for protecting the Second Amendment rights of Kansans.”

Regardless of which side of this debate you’re on, the “Second Amendment Protection Act” certainly raises some interesting issues.

The statute makes it a felony for any federal employee to enforce federal gun regulations on Kansas only-weapons. It also says no state or local officials can attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations on Kansas-only weapons.

The Brady Center lawsuit already guarantees that this state law is headed to federal court. What will happen if the state tries to charge a federal official with a felony for trying to enforce a federal law?

The law declares that Kansas-only guns are exempt from any federal regulations. So what, if any, regulations will those firearms be subject to? Will Kansas manufacturers now be allowed to make guns without serial numbers, making it difficult to trace any gun involved in a crime? Can they legally make guns that can elude mental detectors or other security devices? Can such guns be sold without the background checks required by federal law? …

It’s pretty obvious that the Second Amendment Protection Act was intended more as a political protest than as a practical benefit for Kansans. Only time will tell how many tax dollars the state will spend to defend a law that has little chance of standing up to constitutional scrutiny.

I don’t know if the fine people of Kansas have the brawn to take this to its logical conclusion or not.  If it’s political grandstanding as the editorial says, then they wasted their time and made a mockery of themselves and the legislative process.  If they intend to fold like a cheap tent at the first sign of a federal judge who has become indignant over this, then they should have stayed home.  Their laws are worthless, and that means that the folks in Kansas have no reason to respect the other laws any more than the feds respect this one.  It’s one sure way to lose the mandate of heaven.

But … if they intend to press the issue, then this will stand out as a great case study in nullification.  Nullification could be interpreted as state nullification of onerous federal laws, or jury nullification of prosecutor’s cases in federal court by turning their heads.  After all, federal laws are meaningless if not enforced, and actual, real people must enforce them.

What will happen “if the state tries to charge a federal official with a felony for trying to enforce a federal law?”  The federal official should be put in the state penitentiary with the general prison population for breaking state laws, and state law enforcement shouldn’t cower to federal LEOs while they’re doing this.

The answer to all of the questions about what will happen if, when and how, is that state laws, whatever they are at the time, will be enforced and federal laws will be ignored.  Question(s) posed, question(s) answered without fuss.  But there is the dark possibility that the editorial page has the politicians’ number.  Will they show themselves to be all bark and no bite?  The folks in Kansas might want to frame the issue for their representatives, if you know what I mean.

Does Nullification Matter?

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 2 months ago

Politico:

Infuriated by what they see as the long arm of Washington reaching into their business, states are increasingly telling the feds: Keep out!

Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states — with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.

The nullification trend in recent years has largely focused on three areas: gun control, health care and national standards for driver’s licenses. It has touched off fierce fights within the states and between the states and the feds, as well as raising questions and court battles over whether any of the activity is legal.

In at least 37 states, legislation has been introduced that in some way would gut federal gun regulations, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The bills were signed into law this spring in two states, Kansas and Alaska, and in two others lawmakers hope to override gubernatorial vetoes. Twenty states since 2010 have passed laws that either opt out of or challenge mandatory parts of Obamacare, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. And half the states have approved measures aimed knocking back the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates Washington’s requirements for issuing driver’s licenses.

There is more:

With the help of a few Democrats, Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature appears to be positioned to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a high-profile bill that seeks to nullify federal gun-control laws in the state and make criminals out of federal agents who attempt to enforce them.

Several of Nixon’s fellow Democrats confirmed to The Associated Press that they would vote to override his veto when lawmakers convene in September, even while agreeing with the governor that the bill couldn’t survive a court challenge. Many of them noted that in some parts of Missouri, a “no” vote on gun legislation could be career ending.

“We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it,” said Rep. T.J. McKenna, D-Festus. But, he added, “the bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out.”

Ands that’s the issue, isn’t it?  This lawmaker reverts to what so many do when faced with an upcoming fight.  He refers to what the federal courts might decide.  Here’s a hint for the legislator.  A totalitarian federal court will always decide that totalitarianism is acceptable, federalism is dead, and the states must simply do what they have been told to do.  Referring to the federal courts is like asking the fox to guard the henhouse.

The states would have been far better off had they never began this trend if they aren’t serious about it.  The first volleys have been sent and there is a battle on the horizon.  For nullification laws to make any difference whatsoever, the states must be willing to ignore the federal courts.  They must be willing to impeach judges, imprison federal agents who enforce federal laws, and enforce punitive action against any agent of the federal government who crosses state lines to hassle citizens of the state for any reason pertaining to rules and regulations that the federal government wants to enforce.

And here’s a word about Obamacare.  It’s already being implemented – don’t believe the hype about delays.  Doctors are already spending all night doing charting for the patients they have seen all day, completing Obamacare paperwork.  And nonparticipation in the Obamacare exchanges doesn’t mean that the financial burden for it won’t fall to a state.  The penalties, charges, and other revenue-collecting aspects of Obamacare obtain regardless of opting out of Obamacare – notwithstanding something like imprisonment of IRS agents who attempt to collect such penalties.

Nullification laws have the teeth that states give them, neither one bit more nor one bit less.  But since the first volley has been sent, the states must decide.  The battle ensues as we speak.  If they run and hide, the states were never more than just a little yap-yap dog, all bark and no bite.  This isn’t so theoretrical after all.  One mustn’t turn it into an ethereal, theoretical conversation about what the federal courts might do.  Conversations along these lines indicates that the battle has been already lost.  They may as well bow down and lick Eric Holder’s jackboots.

State Nullification Of Federal Gun Laws

BY Herschel Smith
6 years, 6 months ago

Montana needs a new Governor:

Score one for modernity. Earlier this week, Montana’s legislature passed a nullification bill—a piece of legislation which would have forbidden Big Sky law enforcement from enforcing any new assault weapons ban or ban on high capacity magazines. Steve Bullock, the state’s Democratic governor, announced today that he was vetoing the bill, in part on the grounds that it is “unnecessary political theater.” (That would be because it aimed to nullify laws that don’t even exist yet.)

Nullification—the notion that states can negate federal laws they deem to be unconstitutional—is a doctrine dating to the 19th century that has repeatedly found itself on the wrong side of history, the courts, and the Constitution. And yet it continues to retain mystifying currency on the right, especially among state lawmakers.

The author’s prose is irrelevant and it doesn’t go down as recommended reading or a useful expenditure of your time.  But Milo Townsend gives us a nice rebuttal in the comments.

Firstly, the notion of states nullifying unconstitutional federal Acts dates to the 18th, not the 19th century – none other than both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison urged nullification of President Adams’ Alien & Sedition Acts in 1798 in the first formal political expositions on nullification in U.S. history, the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.

Second, the doctrine of nullification is not only explicitly sanctioned by the Tenth amendment of the United States Constitution, but is integrally built in to the essential structure of the entire federal charter.

Milo then gives us a link to his article on understanding nullification.  It’s all good and studied prose and does go down as recommended reading and a useful expenditure of your time.  The money quote follows.

The fact is, that in order to see why “We, the People of the several States,” are perfectly in line with the Constitution when we undertake to judge of the constitutionality of the actions and decisions of any branch of the federal government, we need only to open our eyes first to the rationale that gave us our government in the first place. Once we imbibe a sobering dose of that tonic prescribed by our founding physicians, “a frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of liberty,” it will be evident – dare we say even “self-evident?” – that if our government is truly grounded in republican principles, and is truly a government “of the people, by the people,” then there can be no alternative except to recognize our own responsibility in making such judgments. It is our sovereignty, as free individuals, which gives legitimacy to any power of our system of government, at any level, including the power to undertake constitutional arbitration and interpretation; such powers, then, are therefore ours in primacy, and are only lent to our representatives conditionally. They can, thus, be withdrawn, resumed, or re-delegated at any time by us, the sovereign authorities within this federal republic. In short, the question of whether we, the people, may undertake to judge of the limits and powers of our own federal government is obviously and unequivocally, “Yes!”

And thus does Milo give us the philosophical and historical underpinnings of our republic and the right to hold the federal government accountable my more means than a simple vote.  I have attempted to supply the theological underpinnings in previous articles.

So I have recommended numerous times that (a) the states arrest federal agents who enforce federal gun laws, (b) the states confiscate and destroy form 4473s in every gun shop in their respective states and order the owner to inform them if any ATF agent visits the store or attempts to arrests the owner, (c) the states place arrested federal agents in with the general prison population and prosecute them to the fullest extent of state law, (d) the states stop any additional federal agents from entering the state and forbid any federal agents from in any way assisting those arrested federal agents, and (e) the states enforce the laws of the states – including nullification – with the power of the National Guard or unorganized militia if necessary against the federal government.

If readers have seen this as boisterous chest-thumping, you have misunderstood it completely.  My recommendations are serious.  Furthermore, there is justification for such actions, theologically, philosophically and historically.


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