Category: Tenth Amendment

South Carolina House Republicans make plans to Oppose Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

“The same day, Rep. Stewart Jones, R-Laurens, who had had introduced the state budget proviso banning state funds from requiring masks in schools, called for an emergency session to block the vaccine mandate.”

“Jones said that it has to be a personal decision for each person and their doctor. Not the government.”

See entire story here: Greenville News

 

South Carolina Bills Would Take on Federal Gun Control

By: TJ Martinell|Published on: Jan 26, 2021|Categories: Right to Keep and Bear ArmsState Bills|

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 26, 2021) – Two bills filed in the South Carolina House would set the foundation to end enforcement of federal gun control. Passage into law would represent a major step toward ending federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms within the state.

Rep Stewart Jones (R- Laurens) filed House Bill 3042 (H3042) on Dec. 9. The bill would prohibit enforcement of future federal gun control by banning any “personnel or property of this State, or any political subdivision of this State” from enforcing any “federal, state, or local act, law, order, rule, ordinance or regulation which restricts an individual’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms” enacted after January 2021.

State public funds would also be prohibited from use in enforcing such federal gun regulations.

Rep. Doug Gilliam (R- Buffalo) also filed House Bill 3119 (H3119) on Dec 9. It would prohibit the enforcement of “illegal gun laws” by state officials, which it defines to be “any federal, state, or local act, law, order, rule, ordinance or regulation” which restricts an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The bill includes a list of specific actions that would count as a restriction, including the following:

  1. a tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services on the purchase or ownership of those items by citizens;
  2. a registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;
  3. a registration or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;
  4. an act forbidding the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of any type of firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by citizens of the legal age of eighteen and over, other than pursuant to federal law background check requirements for transfers or purchases through federal firearms license dealers;
  5. an act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from citizens;
  6.  a prohibition, regulation, or use restriction related to the ownership or the constitutionality guaranteed lawful use or carry of nonfully automatic firearms; and
  7. a prohibition, regulation, or use restriction limiting hand grips, stocks, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, magazine capacity, bump stocks, suppressors, or types of ammunition available for sale, possession, or use by citizens.

Under H3119, infringement on the right to keep and bear arms should include the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Pres. Trump’s bump-stock ban, proposed federal “red-flag laws,” and any future gun control schemes implemented by the federal government.

The legislation includes a provision that would allow anybody who violates the law and knowingly deprives somebody of their right to keep and bear arms as defined by the law to be sued for damages in civil court for up to two thousand dollars:

“Sovereign, official, and qualified immunity are not affirmative defenses in cases pursuant to this section.”

EFFECTIVE

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify many federal actions in effect. As noted by the National Governors’ Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control, states and even local governments can help bring these unconstitutional acts to their much-needed end.”

LEGAL BASIS

The state of South Carolina can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal gun control. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty”

WHAT’S NEXT

Both bills were referred to the House Committee on Judiciary where they must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

South Carolina Bill Would Set Foundation to Block Unconstitutional National Guard Deployments

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 22, 2020) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would prohibit unconstitutional foreign deployments of the state’s National Guard troops. Passage into law would take a step toward restoring the founders’ constitutional framework for a state-federal balance regarding the state militia.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 3528 (H3528) on Dec. 16. The legislation would prohibit placing South Carolina National Guard troops under federal control unless the governor determines they are being deployed in a manner consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The proposed law would require the governor to “examine, consider, and review” every federal order, including all existing orders, that call, transfer, or place the South Carolina National Guard on federal active duty.

Notwithstanding another provision of law, upon completion of the legal review required pursuant to this article, the Governor immediately shall withhold, withdraw, or revoke, or cause to be withheld, withdrawn, or revoked all state approvals, authorizations, or orders relating to the call, transfer, or placement of the South Carolina National Guard, or any of its subordinate commands, units, or personnel on federal active duty or under federal control in the absence of:

(1)    a military invasion of the United States;

(2)    an insurrection; or

(3)    a calling forth of the South Carolina National Guard by the federal government in a manner provided for by the U.S. Congress to execute the laws of the United States, provided that these laws were made pursuant to powers delegated to the United States by the U.S. Constitution.

IN PRACTICE

National Guard troops have played significant roles in all modern overseas conflicts, with over 650,000 deployed since 2001. Military.com reports that “Guard and Reserve units made up about 45 percent of the total force sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and received about 18.4 percent of the casualties.” More specifically, South Carolina National Guard troops have participated in missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Kosovo and elsewhere.

Since none of these missions fall under the three criteria constitutionally necessary to call up the militia, the South Carolina Defend the Guard Act would have prohibited those deployments.

BACKGROUND

Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16 make up the “militia clauses” of the Constitution. Clause 16 authorizes Congress to “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.” Through the Dick Act of 1903, Congress organized the militia into today’s National Guard, limiting the part of the militia that could be called into federal service rather than the “entire body of people,” which makes up the totality of the “militia.” Thus, today’s National Guard is governed by the “militia clauses” of the Constitution, and this view is confirmed by the National Guard itself.

Clause 15 delegates to the Congress the power to provide for “calling forth the militia” in three situations only: 1) to execute the laws of the union, 2) to suppress insurrections, and 3) to repel invasions.

During state ratifying conventions, proponents of the Constitution, including James Madison and Edmund Randolph, repeatedly assured the people that this power to call forth the militia into federal service would be limited to those very specific situations, and not for general purposes, like helping victims of a disease outbreak or engaging in “kinetic military actions.”

RETURNING TO THE CONSTITUTION

The founding generation was careful to ensure the president wouldn’t have the power to drag the United States into endless wars. James Madison made this clear in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature.

Congress has abrogated its responsibility and allowed the president to exercise almost complete discretion when it comes to war. Passage of Defend the Guard legislation would pressure Congress to do its constitutional duty.

West Virginia Rep. Pat McGeehan served as an Air Force intelligence officer in Afghanistan and has sponsored similar legislation in his state.

“For decades, the power of war has long been abused by this supreme executive, and unfortunately our men and women in uniform have been sent off into harm’s way over and over,” he said. “If the U.S. Congress is unwilling to reclaim its constitutional obligation, then the states themselves must act to correct the erosion of constitutional law.”

Passage of Defend the Guard would also force the federal government to only use the Guard for the three expressly-delegated purposes in the Constitution, and at other times to remain where the Guard belongs, at home, supporting and protecting their home state.

While getting this bill passed won’t be easy and will face fierce opposition from the establishment, it certainly is, as Daniel Webster once noted, “one of the reasons state governments even exist.”

Webster made this observation in an 1814 speech on the floor of Congress where he urged actions similar to the Oklahoma Defend the Guard Act. He said, “The operation of measures thus unconstitutional and illegal ought to be prevented by a resort to other measures which are both constitutional and legal. It will be the solemn duty of the State governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power. These are among the objects for which the State governments exist.”

WHAT’S NEXT

H3528 will be officially introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the regular session convenes on Jan. 12, 2021.

South Carolina Bills Would Take Steps Toward Treating Gold and Silver as Money

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 16, 2019) – Two bills prefiled in the South Carolina House would take important steps toward treating gold and silver as money instead of commodities and could undermine the Federal Reserves monopoly on money.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed both bills.

House Bill 4786 (H4786) would effectively exempt gold, silver and platinum bullion from state capital gains taxes. Passage of this legislation would eliminate a significant barrier to using gold and silver in everyday transactions, a foundational step for people to undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.

IN PRACTICE

With the passage of H4786, South Carolina would take a step toward treating gold, silver and platinum as money instead of a commodity. As Sound Money Defense League policy director Jp Cortez testified during a committee hearing on a similar bill in Wyoming in 2018, charging taxes on money itself is beyond the pale.

“In effect, states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.”

Imagine if you asked a grocery clerk to break a $5 bill and he charged you a 35 cent tax. Silly, right? After all, you were only exchanging one form of money for another. But that’s essentially what South Carolina’s capital gains tax on gold and silver bullion does. By eliminating this tax on the exchange of gold and silver, South Carolina would treat specie as money instead of a commodity. This represents a small step toward reestablishing gold and silver as legal tender and breaking down the Fed’s monopoly on money.

“We ought not to tax money – and that’s a good idea. It makes no sense to tax money,” former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said during testimony in support an Arizona bill that repealed capital gains taxes on gold and silver in that state. “Paper is not money, it’s fraud,” he continued.

GOLD BULLION DEPOSITORY

Stewart also prefiled House Bill 4787 (H4787). This joint resolution would create a study committee to determine the feasibility and efficacy of the establishment of a bullion repository in this state to store gold, silver, and other metals for the state’s reserves and for investments. The committee would be required to issue a report of its findings to the General Assembly by January 15, 2021.

South Carolina has a model it could follow. In the summer of 2015, Texas Gov. Doug Abbot signed a law creating a state gold bullion and precious metal depository in his state. The depository received its first deposits in the summer of 2018. The facility will not only provide a secure place for individuals, businesses, cities, counties, government agencies and even other countries to store gold and other precious metals, the law also creates a mechanism to facilitate the everyday use of gold and silver in transactions. In short, a person will eventually be able to deposit gold or silver – and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money.

A state gold repository also creates an avenue toward financial independence. Countries around the world, including China, Russia and Turkey, have been buying gold to limit their dependence on the U.S. dollar. University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said a state depository can serve a similar function for Texas.

“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”

The Tennessee legislature passed a resolution declaring support for the creation of a gold bullion depository in the Volunteer State back in 2016, but never followed up with any legislation. If South Carolina does create a study committee, it would be imperative to follow up with further legislation to actually establish a repository once the report is issued.

Stewart has also prefiled a bill that would make gold and silver coins legal tender in the state.

Repealing taxes on gold and silver, and creating institutions that facilitate the use of sound money creates the possibility of currency competition and could ultimately undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money. Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene wrote that when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve Notes, it could create a “reverse Gresham’s effect,” drive out bad money, effectively nullify the Federal Reserve, and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.

“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”

Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state by state level is what will get us there.

WHAT’S NEXT

H4786 and 4787 will be officially introduced and referred to the House  Committee on Ways and Means when the regular session adjourns on Jan. 13, 2020. They will have to pass committee by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

South Carolina Bill would set Foundation to Block Federal Gun Control

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Nov. 25, 2019) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would take a step toward creating a “gun rights sanctuary state” by banning state and local enforcement of any future federal gun control. Passage into law would represent an important foundational step toward undermining federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms within the state.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 4704 (H.4704) on Nov. 20. Titled the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” the legislation would ban the allocation of public funds, personnel, or property for the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any executive orders, presidential directives or acts of the United States Congress passed after Jan. 1, 2020, that regulate the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.

In August, Jones and 40 of his colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly sent a letter to President Trump and the South Carolina congressional delegation warning about the dangers of Red Flag legislation. While the administration seems to have backed off from federal red flag laws, there are now plans being floated to incentivize states to enforce their own red flag laws.

“Unfortunately, there is now talk about pushing federal funding to states that will enforce red flag laws and potentially other gun confiscation methods. I am calling on state legislators across the United States to send a message to the federal government by passing the Second Amendment Preservation Act in order to prohibit any infringement on our right to keep and bear arms … The Founding Fathers warned us to never trade liberty for security, but that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes.”

On March 20, 2014, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a similar bill that effectively nullifies any federal gun laws passed after that date.

EFFECTIVE

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify in effect many federal actions. As noted by the National Governors’ Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control, states and even local governments can help bring these unconstitutional act to their much-needed end.”

Some gun-rights supporters have argued that such a measure is “unnecessary” because it addresses a nonexistent problem with an NRA-backed president. Trump’s bump stock ban obliterates this fallacy. Furthermore, the Trump administration actually ramped up enforcement of federal gun laws in 2017.

LEGAL BASIS

The state of South Carolina can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal gun control. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty”

WHAT’S NEXT

H.4704 will be officially introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the regular session begins Jan. 13, 2020. It will need to pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.