In this article we make it clear that libertarians should support HB51, the Second Amendment Preservation Act. It’s not a perfect bill to turn all of Ohio into a gun rights sanctuary, but it does much to stop the enforcement of federal gun laws in the state of Ohio. We should support this effort, working in coalition with Ohio Gun Owners and any other organization that supports this bill. We don’t need to agree with every tenet of an organizations’ other philosophies or initiatives to support a push like SAPA. Passing bills like HB51 promotes liberty. We should also be reaching out to members of the House Government Oversight Committee to ensure that this makes it to the Ohio House floor for a vote. See the Take Action! heading at the end of the article for more than you can do.
What is SAPA?
In February HB51 the “Second Amendment Preservation Act” (SAPA) was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives by Republican state representatives Mike Loychik and Jean Schmidt with the support of the Ohio Gun Owners organization. As I write this article, the bill is still in the House Government Oversight Committee.
Careful! Not So Fast!
As our friends at the Tenth Amendment Center will point out, not every bill that claims to be about defending the bill of rights against federal usurpation is truly effective. Several bills called “SAPA” in other states are completely useless. Many bills are designed just to show constituents that the legislature is doing something, while actually doing little or nothing to defend our rights. I’ve reviewed this bill and find that it would do quite a bit to block federal gun law. In my judgement, it is worthy of libertarian support.
What Does Ohio’s SAPA Bill Do?
I’ve reviewed the bill as introduced and believe that it would be a step toward liberty and libertarians (both philosophical and members of the Libertarian Party) should support this legislation.
It would have the following benefits:
- Remove references to federal gun laws from the Ohio code of law. This is positive because our state would no longer recognize federal gun laws.
- Prevent law enforcement at the state and local levels from enforcing federal gun laws.
- Fine law enforcement organizations who attempt to enforce such laws and for hiring anybody who does at $50,000 per infraction.
There Are Limits
The benefits of the law listed above are net positives, but it does not do the following:
- Prevent federal law enforcement from enforcing federal gun laws. However, the federal government generally relies on manpower and facilities that the state and local law enforcement provides. Enforcement without state/local support becomes a lot more difficult. Further, once a bill like SAPA is in place, we can push for stronger measures to treat federal enforcement as the criminal act that it is.
- Prevent law enforcement from assisting federal officers in enforcing laws where federal weapon violations are an “anciliary” aspect of the efforts (see the bill, reading from line 744 on page 26). This is negative. The “primary” crime enforced will be tuned, making federal usurpation “anciliary.” This loophole that will be exploited, but we can close it later.
- Fix Ohio’s own excessive restrictions on weapon ownership and concealed carry that deny many citizens of a right inherent to Natural Law and their humanity (as stated in this and other previous LPWC posts on gun rights). However, getting legislation like this passed will help spread awareness of gun rights and allow us to gain momentum toward further recovery of our right to keep and bear arms.
This is the Logic of Nullification!
SAPA is an act of nullification. It blocks unconstitutional federal acts. The logic is simple:
- The US Constitution is the document where the States created the Federal government, granting it specific powers. Powers not listed in that document (as amended) do not belong to the Federal government.
- The US Constitution grants the federal government no gun control powers
- The 2nd Amendment recognizes an inherent right to bear arms and expressly prohibits the Federal government from infringing on those rights.
- (This is redundant to my first point, but:) The 10th Amendment states, in its entirety: 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 federal government has no delegated gun control powers. These powers fall on the states and the people. One might argue whether states can exercise powers that abridge citizens’ rights based on the the 14th Amendment, but we’ll leave that for a discussion on another day. The important statement for the purposes of discussing SAPA is that Federal gun laws are a usurpation of powers belonging to the states and the people. The State of Ohio is perfectly justified in defending rights in Ohio by nullifying such federal laws.
Supremacy? Sheer Fallacy!
Some might argue, based on Article VI of the US Constitution that all federal laws are the supreme law of the land. The following excerpt clarifies that federal gun laws are not supreme. This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding. Clearly federal laws that have been made that are not “made in Pursuance” of the US Constitution are not “the supreme Law of the Land.” The meaning of Article VI is clear.
If one expects the US Supreme Court to decide such matters for all of us, it ignores the simple fact that the US Supreme Court is a part of the federal government and will generally act to support federal power grabs.
SAPA presents a great opportunity to move the needle towards liberty. Get involved today!
- Contact members of the House Government Oversight Committee, asking them to support this effort. Especially push the Republican members to support it from the right: if they don’t support this, they are weak on supporting the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment.
- Contact me directly mark.marasch(at)lpo.org, and I will keep you in the loop on ways that we can join or build a coalition to pursue SAPA and gun rights in general.
- Check out what OGO is doing on this topic and work to support their efforts.
- Are there other topics you’d prefer to pursue? Take our survey to share your views.
- Come to our meetings. We meet at Doc’s in Lebanon on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm. We complete our business meetings quickly (30-60 minutes), and move onto the truly important business of our social. It’s a great time for open discussion on issues and to meet with like-minded people.
- Share your talents and interests! Let us know what you can do and what interests you. Your unique capabilities can enhance liberty.
- Donate to the Libertarian Party of Warren County
- Join the Libertarian Party of Ohio
- Join the national Libertarian Party