Texas is pulling a Montana:
Tyler Paper - Tyler Morning Telegraph
Bill Limits Gun Regulation
By ROY MAYNARD
Editorial Page Editor
A bill by state Rep. Leo Berman exempting Texas-made firearms, gun accessories and ammunition sold within the state from federal regulation and law -- including registration -- was heard in a House committee on Monday.
The bill also provides for the Texas Attorney General's office to defend Texans who run afoul of the federal government because of this law.
Berman, a Tyler Republican who has pushed several "states' rights" measures this legislative session, said his bill would affect more than 300 manufacturers in the state.
"Under the 9th and 10th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, states have responsibility for regulating intrastate commerce," Berman said. "The federal government has no role."
Worse, he said, the federal government would like to increase regulations.
"With the appointment of Eric Holder as U.S. attorney general, we have the most anti-Second Amendment attorney general in the history of the nation," Berman said. "What we're saying with this is there are some guns not subject to federal regulation. We have guns and gun accessories and ammunition here that are not subject to their regulation."
Berman said the bill has the support of the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association. Contacted on Monday, the Texas State Rifle Association's Alice Tripp did not comment.
Berman said his bill could also spark economic development.
"This gun bill will invite new industry into Texas, that will take advantage of intra-state commerce," Berman said. "We're talking about gun manufacturers, gun accessory manufacturers, and ammunition reloaders."
Montana passed a similar bill earlier this month, and a court challenge is expected when the law goes into effect in October.
"It's a gun bill, but it's another way of demonstrating the sovereignty of the state of Montana," said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat.
Opponents there warn the law could result in gun purchases with no criminal background checks.
Tyler attorney and gun rights advocate Sean Healy said Berman's effort is commendable.
"I applaud Leo's effort to put the federal government in its place," Healy said. "Americans have been conditioned for decades to accept Washington's meddling in their lives. We have grown complacent, and we accept most new restrictions without batting an eye. As a result, Washington has gotten used to doing whatever it wants."
That applies to sweeping federal regulation of firearms, he added.
"I think Leo is right about the Constitution," he said. "The founders intended for the federal government to have the powers specifically given to it in the Constitution, and the states and the people to keep the power to do everything else."
Still, the bill could end up putting the state on a collision course with the federal courts.
"The only problem I see with Leo's bill is the provisions requiring the state to pay for its citizens to fight the federal government," Healy said. "That could cost the taxpayers a lot of money fighting a losing battle."
Berman's bill was left pending in committee, as is usual following committee hearings. It could be voted on as soon as next week.
On Wednesday, another House committee will hear a bill by Berman that would place an 8 percent surcharge on all money wired by illegal immigrants to Mexico and Central and South America. Berman said the bill would generate $480 million yearly. The revenue would be earmarked for hospitals, which he says bear the burden of providing health care for uninsured illegal immigrants and for border security.