As the Obama administration plots various assaults on gun rights by "executive order" and legislation, proposals described as "very extreme" even by some Democrats, state lawmakers in Wyoming have another idea. Republican legislators are rallying behind nullification legislation that would void unconstitutional infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, even providing prison time for any federal agents who may try to enforce Washington, D.C., gun control in the state. Lawmakers expect it to pass. The new bill, H.B. 0104 or the "Firearms Protection Act," would nullify any new federal infringements on the constitutionally protected gun rights of state residents – who enjoy some of the lowest crime rates while being among the most heavily armed people in America. Unconstitutional federal gun registration schemes, as well as restrictions on semi-automatic guns or standard-capacity magazines, would also be nullified under the legislation. There are teeth in the proposed law too: Any federal official attempting to enforce unconstitutional statutes or decrees infringing on gun rights passed after January 1 of this year would be charged with a felony. If convicted, criminal officials would be punished by up to five years in state prison and a $5,000 fine. The legislation also authorizes the state attorney general to defend citizens of Wyoming if federal authorities seek prosecutions under unconstitutional gun control rules.
At least eight state representatives and two state senators have already sponsored the legislation. And nationwide, support for similar measures is exploding. “We want to get things ahead of the game,” Republican state Rep. Kendell Kroeker, the primary sponsor of the bill, told the Huffington Post. “We take the Second Amendment seriously in Wyoming…. If the federal government is going to pass laws taking back our rights, it is our right as a state to defend those rights.” Citing his oath to support and defend the U.S. and state constitutions, state Rep. Kroeker has been a leader in standing against lawless usurpations of power by the federal government. In a previous session, he introduced legislation to increase the use of gold as currency in the state, for example. “I take an oath to uphold, support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Wyoming,” Kroeker continued, telling reporters that his constituents and activists nationwide were thrilled by the move. “I believe it is my duty to take that oath seriously.” In a separate interview with the Associated Press, the liberty-minded lawmaker noted that there are "a lot of people" who would seek to take all of Americans' guns – at least if they could. The only thing restraining them, Kroeker said, is public opposition as well as other lawmakers who take their oaths seriously and are concerned about protecting the people's unalienable rights. “We’re a sovereign state with our own constitutional form of government,” he told the AP. “We’ve got a right to make our laws, and if the federal government is going to try to enforce unconstitutional laws on our people and take away the rights of Wyoming citizens, then we as a state are going to step up and make that a crime.”
In the state Senate, another co-sponsor of the legislation, Wyoming State Senator Larry Hicks, cited the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the states or the people. The nullification bill, he added in an interview with the Washington Examiner, will send a message to federal politicians considering further infringements on the rights of his constituents.
"It says that your one size fits all solution doesn't comport to what a vast majority of the state believes," Sen. Hicks told the paper about the message federal politicians should be taking from the legislation, telling other reporters that state lawmakers were receiving e-mails in support of the bill from all across America and that citizens were urging their own states to take similar action. "I don't think this is controversial in Wyoming at all…. I fully expect this bill to pass."
According to the liberty-minded state senator, even if Congress refuses to budge, the administration is determined to restrict gun ownership by presidential decree. “I think that’s the biggest threat we’re facing,” he told the AP. Sen. Hicks also said that his constituents were "absolutely terrified" about threats from Washington to assault gun rights – especially Vice President Joe Biden's pledge this week to implement the lawless attack by executive order.