by: Rep. Krause, Matt
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Today, Rep. Matt Krause passed H.B. 928 on its third and final reading out of the Texas House of Representatives. H.B. 928 is the first bill Rep. Krause has successfully guided out of the chamber in his first term in office.
“There has been a lot of discussion on firearms and our rights as Americans in the wake of the recent mass killings in Colorado and Connecticut,” said Rep. Matt Krause. “H.B. 928 simply ensures that Texas will frame the discussion on these issues and that we will not aid the federal government in enforcing unnecessarily restrictive or punitive measures designed to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.”
H.B. 928 would establish a new cooperative framework between Texas and the federal government solely as it relates to firearms. The bill declares that no state resources (i.e. law enforcement or any state or local agency) can be utilized for the enforcement of federal firearm regulations that do not also exist in state law. The bill also prohibits state resources from being deputized by the federal government for the express purpose of enforcing federal firearm regulations.
“My bill completely respects the federal government’s right and ability to make and enforce its own laws,” continued Rep. Krause. “Federal law is the supreme law of the land and H.B. 928 does nothing to refute that; however, my bill does make it clear that where federal laws do not align with state laws, Texas will not spend its resources and time enforcing those laws for them. The FBI or ATF is more than welcome to come to Texas and enforce those laws in which the federal government has overstepped the state, but our local and state tax dollars won’t be helping them.”
H.B. 928 instructs our state resources on their conduct while respecting the federal government’s ability and right to create and enforce its own laws.
“We love to call H.B. 928 the ‘Come and Take It’ bill, because it truly encompasses that mentality. Critics who claim that its ‘unconstitutional’ or wrongfully invoke ‘nullification’ are simply scared at how simple it is for a state to lawfully and meaningfully assert its sovereignty on an important issue such as the 2nd Amendment,” said Rep. Matt Krause.
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Texas’ Firearm Protection Act: Fact and Fiction
Posted by Brian Roberts
The Texas House recently passed multiple gun measures designed to protect Texans from undesired, if not unconstitutional, federal gun laws. Two bills related to federal gun laws, HB 1076 and HB 928, are proceeding and at the time of this writing HB 1076 has passed the final vote in the Texas House, 100-47 and HB 928 has passed as well, 102-31. The bills seek to deny state and local resources for enforcement of federal gun laws and in support of this deny funding to state and local officials that do enforce federal gun laws.
Unfortunately, there is a wealth of misinformation published that obscures the legitimacy of this legislation. For instance, the Dallas Morning News makes numerous claims inconsistent with facts.
Key statements made in this article are incorrect and mislead the reader regarding the content and legitimacy of the bill’s language. Starting in the third paragraph, Ms. Hoppe begins her summary of a “proposal to nullify new federal gun control laws.”. This is in regards to Steve Toth’s HB 1076.
Ms. Hoppe states: “Those gun laws not already on the books in Texas couldn’t be enforced here under the sweeping and unadjudicated argument that they wouldn’t be constitutional under the Second Amendment.”
It is true that the legislation would reject local enforcement of federal laws. That is the point of the legislation in general. In contrast to the implication, it is very workable in practice as state laws would be put in place as needed. This allows the Texas legislature to draft gun laws that are consistent with the Texas Constitution.
However, Ms. Hoppe’s claim that the legislation challenges the constitutionality of any federal law is false. No such argument is being made regarding the Second Amendment. In HB 1076, Texas is merely refusing to participate in the local enforcement of federal gun laws. In fact, the constitutionality of the gun laws is neither challenged nor validated. They simply deny resources and manpower to enforcement. The Constitutionality of this bill from the federal perspective is clear. In Printz v. U.S., a 1997 Supreme Court case, Scalia rejected federal comandeering of state and local officers regardless of the constitutionality of the federal law. In other words, the federal government cannot, in any case, force states to uphold federal laws.
Ms. Hoppe states: “And for those cities or counties that tried to enforce a new federal gun law, their entities would lose any state grant money.”
Next, Ms. Hoppe states: “Supporters of the bill said they worked with the attorney general’s office in shaping the so-called Firearms Protection Act. But other lawmakers — all of them Democrats — said the bill ignored the constitution, especially the supremacy clause that establishes federal laws override state ones.”
The supremacy clause is irrelevant in this case since there is no challenge to any specific federal gun laws. It’s just not part of the bill. However, it is worth pointing out the the suggestion made here, that federal law always trumps state law, is false as well. The supremacy clause is a not a blank check on power, it only applies to laws made in pursuance of the enumerated powers of the Constitution. Texas State Representative James White posted this to Facebook regarding the general misinterpretation of the Supremacy Clause:
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