Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Alaska State Rep. Mike Chenault Introduces HB69 To Nullify New Federal Gun Restrictions And Ban Enforcement By Federal Employees

Update April 16th: Both houses of Alaska State Legislature pass HB69 with an amendment; awaiting Governor Parnell's signature. Updated post HERE.

Update February 25th: HB69 passes the full House by a 31-5 vote; updated post HERE.

Update February 20th: HB69 moved out of the Judiciary Committee and to the Rules Committee to be scheduled for a full House vote. Updated post HERE.

Update February 9th: On February 8th, Rep. Chenault introduced a more muscular version of this bill, designated CSHB69. It would be upgrade the penalty from a misdemeanor to a felony. Updated post HERE.

Rep. Mike Chenault
The Alaska state legislature has wasted little time in responding to President Barack Obama's new gun control initiatives. On January 16th, 2013, Rep. Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski), who is also the Speaker of the House, introduced HB69, described as "an act exempting certain firearms and firearm accessories in this state from federal regulation; providing criminal penalties for federal officials who enforce or attempt to enforce a federal law, regulation, rule, or order regulating certain firearms and firearm accessories in this state..." It also declares that any NEW federal statute, regulation, rule, or order that attempts to either ban or restrict ownership of a semiautomatic firearm or a magazine of a firearm; or require a firearm, magazine, or other firearm accessory to be registered, passed after the adoption of HB69 to be unenforceable, thus making it a nullification law. Violations would be prosecuted as class B misdemeanors. This would amend AS 44.99.500.

The bill was promptly referred to the House Judiciary Committee, which is a common practice for all legislation. So far, there is broad legislative support although all of it is Republican; the list of 13 co-sponsors includes Reps. Charisse Millett, Craig Johnson, Tammie Wilson, Mike Hawker, Kurt Olson, Eric Feige, Peggy Wilson, Steve Thompson, Wes Keller, Lynn Gattis, Bob Lynn, Dan Saddler, and Shelley Hughes. Millett, Lynn, and Keller are also members of the Judiciary Comittee, with Keller chairing it, so there's little danger of HB69 getting "buried". Chenault published a complete statement in which he decried the use of executive orders as a substitute for Congressional action. Chenault also said “Tragedy is not a license for federal encroachment of constitutionally protected freedoms. We can all agree that what happened in Newtown, Connecticut was an absolute tragedy. But what we fundamentally disagree on is how you meet the challenge it presented. The President is using it to further his liberal agenda to try and disarm and disenfranchise law-abiding Americans from their enshrined Second Amendment rights. No one should be comfortable with that, regardless of where you sit on the issue".

In response, Karen Loeffler, the U.S. Attorney for Alaska, merely said it was "interesting" and declined to comment further until she had studied the bill.

Since Republicans dominate the House by a 26-14 margin (including newly-minted Republican Lindsey Holmes), passage in a floor vote looks promising. Furthermore, all 26 Republicans and four Democrats are part of the House Majority Caucus. Although HB69 has an immediate effective date, Chenault plans to work with a House committee to make the effective date retroactive to January 1st, should the bill pass.

As of this post, the Tenth Amendment Center reports that Texas, Wyoming, Tennessee, South Dakota and South Carolina also have similar bills pending before their legislatures, and that as many as a dozen more states could follow suit in the coming weeks. A discussion thread on the popular few-holds-barred F2 Anonboard shows solid support for Chenault's actions so far.