In a move that harkens back to Thomas Jefferson’s 1798 Kentucky Resolutions, the state of Alabama recently took a monumental step on the rarely trod path of federalism and NULLIFIED both Joe Biden’s wildly tyrannical 2021 and 2022 Executive Orders over guns and Donald Trump’s repulsive 2018 “Bump Stock” ban, which he, too, “established” via Executive Order.
As Mike Maharrey reports for The Tenth Amendment Center, on April 13:
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill into law prohibiting state and local enforcement of federal gun control by executive order. The enactment of this legislation takes a small step toward ending some federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms within the state.
Indeed. While it does not take the strongest, most constitutional, and most essential move to rebuff any and all federal legislative and bureaucratic/policing action infringing on the right to keep and bear arms, it is a positive baby step. And while the new statute does not wipe away the handful of anti-gun statutes Alabama, itself, exercises contrary to fundamental human rights (things such as a requirement to get state permission to carry a concealed firearm), this is a healthy development.
In effect, the enactment of SB2 should ban state enforcement of President Trump’s bump stock ban, along with two ATF regulations from executive orders issued by Joe Biden to criminalize ‘pistol braces’ and to require registration of popular ‘80 percent lowers’ — homemade firearms. It would also bar state and local enforcement of any other future gun control schemes implemented by executive order.
For background, Executive Orders originally pertained to simple “day-to-day” activity within the White House. If, for example, a President wanted to permanently post a guard in a different place on the White House grounds or change the way mail was to be disseminated in the offices, he could issue an Executive Order for that internal Executive Branch activity.
The Presidential “powers” are limited, and clearly defined in Article Two of the US Constitution, pertaining to the execution of statutes passed by Congress, and to the command of the military when called to War by Congress.
Indeed, even the seemingly broadly-constructed mandate to ‘…take care that the laws be faithfully executed’ is itself constrained by Congress’ power to ‘…make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers…’ (Art. I, Sect. 8) which places into Congress’ hands the mechanisms by which the laws are to be executed.
But, of course, since Congress has usurped federalism and our rights, since it has unjustly inserted the federal government into so many areas of people’s lives, the artifices and bureaus it has created – such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATF/ATF) – all fall under Executive Branch control. This makes it easy – though still, thoroughly corrupt -- for US presidents to circumvent Congress by issuing Executive Orders, dictating that these agencies and bureaus operate in even more intense attacks on our rights.
Alabama is fighting that – kind of… Notes Maharrey:
Sen. Gerald Allen introduced Senate Bill 2 (SB2) on Jan. 11. The law prohibits any official, officer, employee, or agent of the state or a political subdivision of the state from enforcing or administering any executive order issued by the president that ‘limits or restricts the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories by law-abiding residents of the state.’ The bill also bans the expenditure of state or local funds for the enforcement of the same.
But, as Maharrey also notes, the new Alabama proscription contains a number of loopholes. First, he explains, the new statute does not define what it calls a “law-abiding resident,” and that could see a person who, technically, is abiding by Natural Law become a “law-breaker” if a judge decides that the federal categories make him or her such. It’s a bit of a “cart-before-the-horse” problem of semantic interpretation negating federalism, even though federalism supposedly is asserted by SB2.
Writes Maharrey, about a better form of this kind of legislation, in another state:
This is why the Missouri Second Amendment Preservation Act passed last year specifically defined a law-abiding citizen as ‘a person who is not otherwise precluded under state law from possessing a firearm.’
And he adds that, generally, some state and local police either pretend not to know or don’t know that some ATF changes based on Executive Orders actually ARE based on EOs, rather than statutory code:
There is also the possibility that state and local law enforcement agents will claim they didn’t know that a given federal firearm regulation was implemented by ‘executive order.’
In practice, the president generally signs an order instructing the ATF to make a certain rule or interpret a particular act in a specific way. For instance, the EO may say, ‘The ATF is directed to make rules prohibiting the possession of X under the authority of the National Firearms Act of 1934.’ The ATF then draws up the specific rule. A corrupt – or even uninformed – law enforcement officer could argue he didn’t know the regulation was initiated by an EO. He’ll simply say, it’s an ATF rule under the NFA of 1934.
All of which reminds vigilant people that the 1934 National Firearms Act (the first gun-attacking statute passed by Congress) is wildly unconstitutional and immoral, federally targeting all people who want to engage in the peaceful act of owning an automatic “machine gun” firearm or short-barreled shotgun (the firepower of which Joe Biden far surpassed recently in sending what now is over $3 billion in weapons and “technical aid” to Ukraine).
The Alabama statute goes into effect July 1, close to Independence Day.
Perhaps Americans outside of the state will hear about it, learn about these Executive Orders and about the sad history of federal gun laws like the ’34 act, and understand that this Alabama move is only a small step on the necessarily long march towards restoring a semblance of federalism and respect for Natural Rights in the US.
We have a long way to go.