Thanks to the work of the Virginia Citizens Defense League most everyone is now familiar with Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties. As of yesterday, there are now 101 sanctuary cities and counties.
This is all good and well but what if you had an entire 2A sanctuary state.
It should be noted that cities and counties are creatures of the state. Under Dillon’s Rule, they only have the power to act when given an express grant by the state or if it could be implied from there. Thus, a state can take power away from local governments or even dissolve them but the converse isn’t true.
Rep. David Hardin (R-86), Assistant Majority Whip of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, has pre-filed a bill that would make Oklahoma a Second Amendment state. HB 2781 or Second Amendment Preservation Act would ban any Oklahoma state or local official from enforcing any Federal law, act, executive order, court order, etc. that would infringe on the right to keep and bear arms.
According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the bill has a very detailed definition of infringement that includes:
- taxes and fees on firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect on firearms ownership;
- registration and tracking schemes applied to firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition that would have a chilling effect;
- any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens;
- any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
The bill allows civil suits against any one who violates the law and knowingly violated a person’s right to keep and bear arms. Very interestingly, the bill would remove sovereign immunity as an affirmative defense in such suits. (Section 7.C.)
The bill also includes provisions that would apply to federal agents who knowingly enforce or attempt to enforce any of the infringing acts identified in the law, or who give material aid and support to such enforcement efforts.
Under the proposed law, they would “be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.” This would also apply to state or local law enforcement agents working with federal task forces or deputized by federal agencies.
In other words, Oklahoma law enforcement officers who cooperate with the feds in a violation of a person’s right to keep and bear arms would lose their jobs and never be able to work in Oklahoma law enforcement again, and federal agents could not work in Oklahoma law enforcement.
As the Supreme Court has ruled in Printz v. US, the Federal government cannot force state law enforcement officials to implement or enforce Federal laws. This is known as the doctrine of anti-commandeering.
While the Federal government cannot force state and local law enforcement to enforce Federal law, it can engage in partnerships with them to do so. A prime example of this would be requests from ICE to local law enforcement to hold illegal aliens who are arrested for other reasons until such time as they can be remanded to Federal custody. Likewise, for any Federal gun control law to be effective, it needs the help of state and local law enforcement.
I don’t know the likelihood of this bill passing the Oklahoma State Legislature. However, given the sponsor is part of the Republican leadership, this is more likely than if introduced by some freshman back bencher. I will keep you updated.