Tag: nullification

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.


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.


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”


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.

Red flag laws won’t stop mass shootings — ending gun-free zones will

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

True to that statement, many emotionally-charged politicians — including President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)— are now calling for so-called “red flag” laws. Also known as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs), these laws allow for the confiscation of firearms without due process; this is unconstitutional and goes against the very fabric of our Republic, eroding both due process and a person’s natural right to self-defense.

Red flag laws have already been abused in various states and cases, having been passed in 17 states and Washington, D.C. since 1999. If passed at the federal level, it will be another blow toward our liberty, much like the indefinite detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA, warrantless wiretapping of the PATRIOT Act, metadata collection by the NSA, and the expansion of the unconstitutional FISA courts.

People should also be concerned that red flag laws will be used to target political adversaries and used against anyone that government officials may disagree with. President Trump, of all people, should know what it feels like to be wrongly targeted, as both the FBI and FISA courts were used against him when he ran for office.

That being said, it’s alarming to see him asking social media networks for help in targeting individuals that may pose a danger. Just think, if you’ve ever been in “Facebook jail” or banned from Twitter, you could be flagged.

And with a world more connected now more than ever before thanks to social media and instant news, it’s essential to realize the role that the mainstream media has played in sensationalizing mass shooting tragedies. According to data provided by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime rates have been in decline since the 1990s, despite rises in public perception of crime rates.

Among the many things ignored by the mainstream media are the countless incidents where a good person with a gun has prevented a tragedy, even though these positive incidents happen far more often than not.

This is why if elected officials truly want to help these situations, they must eliminate laws such as gun-free zones that restrict law-abiding gun owners from carrying in specific places. According to the Crime Prevention Center, since 1950, 94 percent of mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones.

Similarly, the cities and states with the most extreme gun laws in the nation have some of the nation’s highest crime rates. These laws also led to dangerous situations that place both law enforcement and citizens in harm’s way.

The bottom line: Red flag laws are not just unconstitutional — they simply don’t work. We the people must realize that the government cannot be in all places to stop all crimes. Only a well-armed citizenry can act as a deterrent to both criminals and big government.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”

Government officials today should realize that they have no right to infringe upon an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. In fact, the Second Amendment does not give people any rights; these rights are already endowed by nature. The United States Constitution is unique because it bars the government from infringing on the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms.

As a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, I have had many conversations with constituents concerned about giving the government any more authority over our God-given right to keep and bear arms. With an alarming number of elected officials unable to see that the answer to the problem is more freedom, not less, we should never forget that the worst forms of genocide have always started with the erosion of due process and the confiscation of firearms.

Therefore, I’m calling on all elected officials to obey their Oath to the Constitution by defending the Bill of Rights and opposing any new attempts to pass red flag laws.

Stewart Jones is a state representative from South Carolina House District 14.

Originally appeared in The Hill.