On September 30, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy threw out the lawsuit brought against the Federal government by the Montana Shooting Sports Association. The lawsuit was designed to validate Montana's Firearms Freedom Act which stated that firearms and firearm accessories manufactured and used within the State were not subject to Federal regulations. The 'logic' used by the judge was that because the firearms and accessories might, possibly, someday, perhaps, eventually cross state lines (in violation of the law in question) their manufacture and use was subject to Federal regulations pursuant to the Federal government's ubiquitous fallback defense for unconstitutional abrogations of liberty, the "commerce clause ." This is obviously ridiculous and diametrically opposed to the position that our Founding Fathers would take. The Tenth Amendment clearly states that "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." The power to regulate firearms is not given to the Federal Government anywhere in the Constitution. The only place where firearms are mentioned in the Constitution is in the Second Amendment where their regulation – any regulation is an 'infringement' of a right – is clearly prohibited. Montana is not the only state that has passed a Firearms Freedom Act. Arizona, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming have all passed similar legislation and may be affected by Judge Malloy's decision.
The above is all background to introduce my topic for the day which is Nullification, also referred to as interposition. Nullification is a doctrine which, also it actually existed beforehand, was formalized by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the "Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions" of 1798 and 1799. The doctrine is surprisingly simple. As the Constitution is a compact (or contract) between each individual state and the Federal Government, an entity created by the sovereign states, any violation of that compact by the Federal Government may be, by a state legislature, nullified (declared null and void) within the borders of their state. There has always been and will always be differences of opinion when it comes to determining what federal laws are actually constitutional. The problem with allowing federal judges to make the final decision is that the federal judges are in fact part of the same federal government that made the laws in question. Imagine that two families are fighting over a piece of disputed property and that they are then told that a member of one of those families will act as the moderator of the argument and that he will have the final word. Does that seem reasonable? That is similar to allowing a federal court to have the final say on a federal law.
Nullification is not a partisan issue. It has been used by the liberal wing in California to allow medical marijuana in defiance of federal law; it has been used by both sides in multiple states to reject federal demands for an Orwellian biometric ID card as defined in the 'Real ID Act'; and it has been used by conservatives in seven states to create Firearm Freedom Acts which exempt certain firearms from existing federal law. Historically it has been used on many issues including in the 1850's when Wisconsin used it to nullify the Fugitive Slave Act and refused to return runaway slaves to their presumptive 'owners.'
Judge Malloy's decision on Montana's Firearms Freedom Act is not surprising. A federal judge sided with the federal government. The act clearly stated that the federal government was wrong in its regulations and it is just as wrong in its judge's decision. The principle of nullification still applies. The federal laws regulating firearms are unconstitutional and Judge Malloy's decision is just as unconstitutional. Both should be considered null and void within the seven states which have passed Firearm Freedom Acts. If the States do not use nullification to stem the tide of unconstitutional laws and regulations, then their citizens will be buried under an ever-increasing tide of federal usurpations. Nullification is legal, it is long standing tradition, and it has been employed throughout our Nation's history to stop the progression of tyranny. If you stand for freedom, if you stand for the right to keep and bear arms, and if you stand against tyranny, you must stand for nullification!
For an excellent in-depth study of this subject, I highly recommend Thomas E. Woods' book "Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century." http://j.mp/9uHeUr
If you are going to be in or around Boise, Idaho on November 10, 2010, I also recommend that you attend Mr. Woods' free lecture on Nullification at the Boise State University Special Events Center. http://thomaswoodsboise.com/