(Has anyone heard a word from your members of Congress about how serious gun confiscation has become in VA? I haven’t heard a word from either Senator or from Representative Scott Tipton. MB)
Northam’s proposals to register and restrict the sale and ownership of certain firearms, including forceful removal of those arms, conflict with the Second Amendment
Virginia’s switch to an all-democrat state government after the last election has ushered in a new era of megalomania among the state legislators. Following the usual pattern of wangling their way to power, the first thing liberals target is the Second Amendment and Virginia’s top officials have wasted no time in their pursuit of gun grabbing.
Governor Ralph Northam went straight after guiltless citizens by stating his intention to push through legislation requiring gun owners to register AR-15s and other firearms under the fiction of protecting the public. The ploy to divest citizens of protection from overbearing government is always the first draw by liberals frantic to entrench their control before voters catch on to their game and rebel at the ballot box.
Using every nuance to collect legally owned guns, the first salvo has been the establishment of red flag laws across a number of states, which institution has already resulted in a few tragically ending stand-offs.
As Governor Northam expects his edicts to be voted in by the single party legislature, he has added pressure to his method by threatening noncompliant gun owners with arrest and incarceration. He’s gone so far as to add a quarter-million dollars to the corrections budget for additional penal officers to handle the expected influx of prisoners.
But there are a few drawbacks to the plan. One was brought up by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring in addressing the 90 counties that have already declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries. It is his position that local governments don’t have the legal standing to deny the authority of statutes passed by the General Assembly. Herring manages to contradict himself in more than one instance, not an unusual situation for democrats to find themselves. When it comes to municipalities and counties declaring themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens, they’re in full support but switch gears to an actual constitutional argument upholding the Second Amendment? Not so much.
Just because the state says the following, it does not guarantee the constitutionality of acts by the General Assembly: “All actions of the General Assembly are presumed to be constitutional.” Dealing with the implied threat of armed enforcement of legislation that has yet to be considered let alone passed by the VGA, the response at the county level is not unexpected. The contradiction is right in front of the AG as part of his statement blasting the counties for invoking sanctuary status. (Boldface, mine.)
The point here is how Herring attempts to subjugate county governments to state legislation by quoting the Code of Virginia –
“The Constitution and laws of the United States and of the Commonwealth shall be supreme. Any ordinance, resolution, bylaw, rule, regulation, or order of any governing body or any corporation, board, or number of persons shall not be inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States or of the Commonwealth.”
If the state attempts to pass restrictive gun laws, they directly conflict with the United States Constitution. There can be no argument that any gun confiscation laws would be struck down as unconstitutional.
Where AG Herring believes Dillon’s Rule is the last word about placing counties under state authority, as noted by the author in the ZeroHedge piece it is nothing more than unenforceable policy.
If the state, thinking to get a one-up on gun owners by removing firearms from legal owners while any legislation is being litigated, the governor and state agencies need to consider the established authority of a sheriff. Herring and other officials have a habit of overlooking how the sheriff is directly accountable to the local electorate, as opposed to the state or the federal government.
The Printz v. United States SCOTUS decision of 1994 drew a line over which federal law could not extend due to restrictions emplaced by the 10th Amendment: “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.” Basically, the Brady Law could not compel sheriffs to enforce its prohibitions on gun sales. The action, initially brought by Sheriff Richard Mack of Graham County, Arizona, confirmed the separation of powers between federal and state.
But the 10th Amendment also may work by implication in the reverse when application of the Constitution is in question. The state cannot overstep the bounds of the Second Amendment by forcibly removing the guaranteed right to bear arms, a right or power “reserved… to the people.”
From Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion of Printz v. United States, he quotes James Madison:
“In the compound republic of America, the power surrendered by the people is first divided between two distinct governments, and then the portion allotted to each subdivided among distinct and separate departments. Hence a double security arises to the rights of the people. The different governments will control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.” The Federalist No. 51, at 323.
“The dissent perceives a simple answer in that portion of Article VI which requires that “all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution,” arguing that by virtue of the Supremacy Clause this makes “not only the Constitution, but every law enacted by Congress as well,” binding on state officers, including laws requiring state officer enforcement. Post, at 6. The Supremacy Clause, however, makes “Law of the Land” only “Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance [of the Constitution]…” to be binding on state officers, or so it appears. (Boldface, mine.)
Then there’s this interesting sideline from the opinion that sheds light on what the state expects to impose on the National Guard, a part of the federal armed services, even though the governor may call them:
“It is no more compatible with this independence and autonomy that their officers be “dragooned” (as Judge Fernandez put it in his dissent below, 66 F. 3d, at 1035) into administering federal law, than it would be compatible with the independence and autonomy of the United States that its officers be impressed into service for the execution of state laws.”
It’s possible that the foregoing arguments may be flawed. However, there is no doubt that Northam’s proposals to register and restrict the sale and ownership of certain firearms, including forceful removal of those arms, conflict with the Second Amendment. It is also worth noting that the county sheriff answers to his constituents first and foremost, not the state government.
Former newspaper publisher, A. Dru Kristenev, grew up in the publishing industry working every angle of a paper, from ad composition and sales, to personnel management, copy writing, and overseeing all editorial content. During her tenure as a news professional, Kristenev traveled internationally as a representative of the paper and, on separate occasions, non-profit organizations. Since 2007, Kristenev has authored five fact-filled political suspense novels, the Baron Series, and two non-fiction books, all available on Amazon. Carrying an M.S. degree and having taught at premier northwest universities, she is the trustee of Scribes’ College of Journalism, which mission is to train a new generation of journalists in biblical standards of reporting. More information about the college and how to support it can be obtained by contacting Kristenev at firstname.lastname@example.org.