What’s next? Secession?
Since the Newtown Massacre, there have been thousands of additional gun-related deaths in this country. It stimulated a national debate with a heighted push for sensible gun regulation. In response to this debate, Michigan Republicans have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to enforce any federal laws that attempt to regulate gun ownership.
House Bill 4457 would create the “Michigan firearm protection act”. It says:
A public servant or dealer that sells a firearm in this state shall not enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the United States government relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured exclusively within the borders of this state.
It also makes a felony for anyone to attempt to enforce any such laws, “punishable by imprisonment for not less than 1 year and 1 day or more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00”. It includes bans or restrictions on the ownership of semi-automatic weapons or “any magazine of a firearm” or that would require registering “any firearm, magazine or other firearm accessory”.
Senate Bill 63 would create the “Michigan firearms freedom act”. It claims that the federal government has no ability to enforce any laws restricting gun ownership if they are manufactured in the state and stay here:
A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Michigan and that remains within the borders of Michigan is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce.
While the adults in this country are having a legitimate conversation and debate about sensible regulation of weapons that are designed almost exclusively for the purpose of killing human beings, ideological extremists in this state are going into freak-out mode to protect the “rights” of a small handful of gun fetishists who willingly register their cars, their dogs, and even their bicycles but cannot abide the thought of having to register their weapons. They obey laws that limit other, everyday behaviors, like the ownership of vehicles, for example. But laws that impact their weapons of death are off limits.
Michigan isn’t alone, of course. Similar bills have been introduced in Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Washington, Mississippi, Oregon and Texas.
It’s a rare thing for states to preemptively pass laws saying they will not enforce federal laws. Making the enforcement of them a felony is beyond the pale. It’s another clear example of how powerful the National Gun Fetishist Association (NRA) has become and how off-the-rails the ideological right has become. All we can hope for is that their extremist views will be their downfall in 2014. We need adults to lead our states and our countries, not petulant brats whose “no compromise” approach to governance is threatening our democracy.
[Graphic/photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog]