Alaska’s HB69: Citizens have more power than the Federal Govt
Civil War? Nah. This is merely how it really is, despite what DC will tell you.
Oh, the horror, the horror. Apparently that pesky Alaska is getting too uppity. Behold, Alaska’s HB69! I smell a civil war a brewin’! Those idiot individualists who dare threaten our benevolent Federal government must be put down. In the interest of public peace, of course, of course.
John Aronno over at Huff Po is telling us all the newest talking point of the anti-gun agenda: If you support gun rights, you are probably/obviously trying to usurp the Federal government and/or putting your pathetic rights above those of the Fed. Such treachery, indeed.
The most controversial bill in recent Alaska history – and beyond – might be this session’s House Bill 69, sponsored by Speaker Mike Chenault. This House legislation was advertised as a declaration of state sovereignty as it related to owning firearms in Alaska. But that was more of a side note to the actual threat the language of the bill presents.
HB69 includes provocative language stipulating that state authorities could, should the bill pass, arrest federal agents who attempted to enforce federal law regarding gun regulations. For instance, if Washington, D.C. passed a law tomorrow stating that high capacity ammo clips are illegal, Chenault’s bill would deem that law invalid. It would empower state troopers to arrest any FBI agent seeking to enforce the law. It would tell citizens that they had more power than the feds.
Citizens having more power than the Feds? Um. Yes. We do. We have. We always should.
Why is this horrifying or shocking?
Chenault’s legislation was a proposed solution to non-existent gun reform being discussed in the nation’s capital. In other words, it nullified federal law.
The crux of the bill is as simple as it is falsely advertised by its proponents: states can pick and choose which federal laws to abide by, and can assert authority over federal agents enforcing federal law.
We’ve been through this. It caused the creation of our Constitution in light of the obvious inefficiency of the Articles of Confederation.
Now comes the civics lesson.
The people who Alaskans elected, who have been chosen to create policy that ensures a stable, viable, prosperous 49th estate, these people have made three fundamentally shortsighted and flawed determinations in advancing Chenault’s nullification law.
The first mistake is the misguided presumption that this bill is, in any way, constitutional. The second mistake is the legislators’ choice to propagate the false premise that HB69 is about the Second Amendment; that this proposal in any way protects our right to bear arms in a way that the actual Second Amendment fails to. The third mistake hinges on this bizarre notion that arresting federal agents is the proper way to publicly disagree with poor decisions made at the federal level.
Now here comes the warning that if you support State’s rights over Federal rights, then you are a secessionist, of course.
But there’s a disconnect between the reality of respecting gun ownership and the defense of a bill in the state legislature that takes hostile action towards the nation we’re the forty ninth star of.
This was a fact pointed out by freshman representative Andy Josephson (D-Anchorage):
Mr. Speaker, we decided in 1955 to submit a state constitution. We joined the team. Our star’s on the flag. I see it there. We didn’t have to do that. We demanded it. We implored our forty-eight… brothers and sisters, let us join this great team. And I care greatly about my state. But I’m very proud to be an American. Very proud. And if the courts say that an administration law is constitutional, it is. I think this is secessionist talk. That’s what I think it is.
That is tough to argue, because what Mike Chenault is talking about is, at its unrelenting core, secessionist talk.
But Representative Peggy Wilson (R-Wrangell) was, nonetheless, there to make a haunting declaration: “[W]e are joining a team. We’re joining a team with eleven other states that are saying enough is enough.”
Sorry, I’m just trying to get past the “this isn’t condoning a new Civil War” sentiment in light of the whole “we’re joining a team of eleven states seeking to preempt the federal government’s authority” argument.