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by John Sutherland, ©2012

More than 60% of Colorado's population lives in the greater Denver area

(Jan. 14, 2012) — I am a strong supporter of the feds abiding by controls of the Second Amendment and for the states protecting their citizens from onerous and unconstitutional usurpation and violations of state constitutions and statutes by members of both state and federal governments.  With this thought in mind, here is an interesting and informative email I received from the NRA earlier this week:

Two Pro-Gun Bills Introduced in the Colorado Legislature

The 2012 legislative session of the Colorado General Assembly got off to a good start for gun owners. Yesterday, two pro-gun bills were introduced, House Bill 1064 and House Bill 1048.  Both NRA-backed bills were assigned to the state House Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

Introduced by state Representative Amy Stephens (R-20), HB 1064 would protect your Second Amendment rights by prohibiting the state or any government agency, during a declared state of emergency, from prohibiting or restricting the otherwise lawful possession, use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage, or display of a firearm or ammunition; seizing or confiscating a lawfully possessed firearm, or requiring registration of a firearm or ammunition for which registration is not otherwise required by law.

HB 1048, introduced by state Representative Mark Waller (R-15), would eliminate the duplicative state-run Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) InstaCheck system for the purchase of firearms and solely utilize the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). By removing the CBI InstaCheck, HB 1048 could possibly save the state of Colorado millions of dollars and repeal an unnecessary state program.

On the surface, the two House actions look quite attractive, and I am in general agreement with the first (HB 12-1064) as is described in detail here, although I am sad that something like this has to be implemented – this individual right should be protected at the state constitution level.  And, maybe it is.

One of my issues about HB 12-1064 is the NRA’s reference to the Second Amendment – a federal restraint – not a state constraint.  Putting that complaint aside, summary of the HB 12-1064 bill, introduced by state Representative Amy Stephens (R-20), says this:

The bill prohibits the state or any political subdivision of the state (state), during a declared state of emergency, from prohibiting or restricting the otherwise lawful possession, use, carrying, transfer, transportation, storage, or display of a firearm or ammunition; seizing or confiscating a lawfully possessed firearm, except in specific, described circumstances; or requiring registration of a firearm or ammunition for which registration is not otherwise required by law. An exception is made for the commercial sale of firearms if an authorized authority has ordered an evacuation or a general closure of business.

An individual whose rights are violated by the state in conflict with these prohibitions has legal recourse against the state.

So, HB 12-1064 merely protects the citizens against state agency improper actions?  And if the feds come in, and the feds do all of the same mean, wicked, and terrible things against the state’s citizens, the state does what?  Nothing?  And if the feds invite foreign troops into America to enforce military controls over the people (aka martial law), who now protects the people?  It would appear not the state.  What, exactly, is going on here?  Has all government protection of the people been changed to allow totalitarian control of the people?

This bill needs to be rewritten to become a complete protection, by the state, of its citizens against all state, federal, and international violations against the people.  I would submit that the state does have exclusive control of all firearms and ammunition issues within its borders.  Otherwise, how would a Colorado county sheriff know how to act?  Must the sheriffs stand by while the feds, including the military, disarm lawful citizens in his county as happened in New Orleans after Katrina?  I don’t think so.  These questions must be addressed and resolved, or I can foresee fighting in the streets in times of stress.

Continuing on to the second bill, HB 12-1048, introduced by state Representative Mark Waller (R-15), the bill details are found here, and the bill is summarized as follows:

Current federal law requires a licensed transferor of firearms to complete a background check of a prospective transferee through the national instant criminal background check system before transferring a firearm to him or her. Current state law requires the Colorado bureau of investigation (CBI) to perform such background checks as a point of contact for the federal bureau of investigation. The bill eliminates this requirement of the CBI and makes conforming amendments as necessary.

So, in this age of federal usurpation of state authority, and in spite of the mountain of evidence that the feds look and act more like totalitarian Marxists than constitutional patriots, we’re going to turn ALL of our state authority regarding firearms purchase background checks over to the feds – those same guys who have told us they want to disarm every American citizen?  To save the state a few bucks?  I don’t think so.  What are these state representatives of the people thinking?

I would counter this bill (which I do NOT support as written) with one that says the state will do ALL firearms background checking and the federal government will do NONE of the background checks.  Besides, the feds do NOT have constitutional authority to control a state’s background checks on its own citizens anyway, in spite of what they want us to believe.

Acknowledging this, and as attorney Tim Baldwin so brilliantly points out in his article entitled “The Marbury v. Madison Mantra”:

The arguments against the power of the states to arrest federal tyranny are as predictable as the sun coming up in the morning, and they are as philosophical in nature as the Declaration of Independence. One of the most commonly used arguments against such a State power is the United States Supreme Court (US S CT) dicta opinion in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, written by Chief Justice John Marshall.

… Marshall admits in Marbury v. Madison, “questions [that are] in their nature political . . . CAN NEVER BE MADE IN THIS COURT.” (Emphasis added.) By definition, issues of State sovereignty are in their nature political, just as a treaty between the USA and foreign countries regards the matter of political sovereignty. Therefore, when our states begin to assert their natural and sovereign right of self-defense against federal tyranny, each State will answer to their sovereign — the people — and NOT to the United States Supreme Court.

A-hah!  The plot thickens.  Is that what the state governments are afraid of – answering to their own people?  Should state governments keep the important issues in the courts or under federal controls where they (the state employees) will not be held accountable for their actions, and where the consequences of their actions can be determined ahead of time?  Is this all a system of accountability avoidance?  If it is, I don’t like it at all.

Adding to this discussion is an increasingly onerous federal control of the people’s ability to own arms as exemplified in this NRA/ILA announcement on Friday, January 13, 2012:

Moments before this alert was to go out, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. issued a ruling upholding an Obama administration policy that requires federally licensed firearms retailers in states bordering Mexico to report multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles.  The case was brought by two NRA-backed firearms retailers and by the National Shooting Sports Foundation acting on behalf of its affected members.  Plaintiffs plan to appeal immediately—but in the meantime, your help is urgently needed in seeking congressional action to end this illegal policy.

So, this is the sequence of events.  Under an improper interpretation of the Commerce Clause, in spite of the Second Amendment restraint on the federal government, and in spite of recent discoveries of blatant federal misconduct of the ‘Fast and Furious’ style, the feds, supported by the federal courts, now usurp and take increasing gun control away from state-controlled businesses and individual gun owners.

This appears to be a clear usurpation of constitutional restraints by the federal government, but the state governments, in their own role of irresponsibly representing their own people, have allowed this to happen.  Why?  Why are firearms dealers federally licensed?  Firearms dealers are state-created and controllable businesses, not creatures of the federal government.

What I am arguing for is a return of state sovereignty and a return of state control over all of its businesses, including, and maybe especially, its firearms dealers.  I also want our state governments to step up and retake control of their own state constitutionally-mandated operations from the federal government and to protect their own citizens against all foreign sources, including the federal government.

In an age where the federal government has shown itself to be unconstitutional in so many areas, any subordination of control to the federal government by the states should be challenged and probably NOT done.

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  1. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    well regulated – The phrase “well-regulated” was in common use long before 1789, and remained so for a century thereafter. It referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people’s arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.
    Militia – every able bodied person

    necessary – we have to have this

    maintain – keep in good repair and up to date

    free State – the republican (not referring to the political party) form of government guaranteed to every citizen as a citizen of every state and as described, limited and established at the Federal level by the Constitution.

    the right of the people – this right is already “of the people” who received it from God. It does not come from the state or any other institution of man made governance.

    to keep – the people may own them and have them in their immediate possession

    and bear arms – a strictly military term having nothing to do with hunting or recreational shooting, the people may bear arms to protect their life, liberty, and property against all would be invaders, foreign and domestic – again, to be secure in their persons, their belongings, in their homes, and to “secure” a “free state”. They had just fought off a tyrant in the King and didn’t want to be subject to another.

    shall not be infringed – no one and no government has the right to take away or hinder the citizen in this right.

    The right to keep and bear arms is essential to the right to life, liberty, and property. It comes from God. All governments must keep their hands off of this right or be subject to its legal and constitutional expression. Any law that restricts the citizen from his right to keep and bear arms is unconstitutional and only in force through acts of tyranny.

    Colorado (and the other states) doesn’t need to pass another law. They just need to read the one we have and enforce it as if their lives depended on it. Because that’s exactly why it’s there.

  2. If you are really intent on keeping the devious hand of the federal government from violating the 2nd amend. then there can be no, NO, avenue for them to enter at all and that includes the NICS. As many of you already know the NICS is a farce. It is based on being charged not conviction. One state may easily then disarm the citizens of any other state by fraud, mistake or well intended lawmaking it’s own citizens may choose to endure. Where is the legal protection from that now?

    1. A pen, you ask a good question. It is obvious from the events going on in Monroe County that local and state tyrants can be as bad as, or worse than, their federal counterparts when it comes to citizen abuse.

      Opposing that badness, however, there is also a lot of goodness from local and state law enforcement (specifically) as is shown by the Sheriffs (e.g. http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2010/07/19/constitutional-sheriffs-now/) as they pick up the baton and try to do the right thing for their neighbors. The group ‘Sheriffs Stand TALL for the Constitution’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4RuWK2Ww-4) along with the rapidly growing group ‘Oath Keepers’ give me great hope in our future. The sheriffs are not perfect, but they are local, and the voters know how to get to them.

      I don’t see groups like the sheriffs on the federal level. What I see happening on the federal level are courageous whistle blowers who have their lives either ruined or taken, and that makes me sick… sick and tired of the corruption and criminal activity on the massive scale we see in Washington.

      The other point to remember is that the feds don’t give a rip about the individual citizens, who they view as bottom feeders. We saw that reaction when 1 million Tea Party members marched on Washington demanding change, and the only federal group that paid attention to them was the Park Service.

      But, having said that, the feds do seem scared when the states do something that frustrates their totalitarian control programs. Witness how aggressive the feds became over Arizona and Montana challenging their authority. This would be natural since the states are where the real economic power and the absolute control are located. Besides. the federal government was created by the states, and if the feds screw up, it is the states who must bear responsibility, not the individual citizens.

      My belief is if the states can fix the federal problems, the solution will be much neater and cleaner than if the people do the job with pitch forks, tar and feathers. That will be messy and people will die.