The effort to nullify federal gun laws within state boundaries may have hit an insuperable stumbling block in Missouri. Although the state House of Representatives approved a compromise bill drafted to protect the right to keep and bear arms, it seems that disagreement among lawmakers over a provision stripped from the House-passed version threatens to scuttle the measure.
Happily, among legislators who approve the bill, there is no debate regarding the act’s declaring unconstitutional all federal attempts to infringe upon the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
In very clear terms, the “Second Amendment Preservation Act” declares that all acts of the federal government that exceed the powers granted to it by the states in the Constitution are “unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
This pronouncement is in perfect harmony with the explanation of federalism and the proper boundaries of federal law given by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The Resolutions plainly set forth Jefferson’s and Madison’s understanding of the source of all federal power. Those landmark documents clearly demonstrate what these two agile-minded champions of liberty considered the constitutional delegation of power. Jefferson summed it up very economically in the Kentucky Resolutions:
... The several states who formed that instrument [the federal government], being sovereign and independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction; and that a nullification, by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized acts done under colour [sic] of that instrument, is the rightful remedy.
In his speech on the bank bill delivered in 1791, Madison said, “In controverted cases, the meaning of the parties to the instrument, if collected by reasonable evidence, is a proper guide.”
Jefferson similarly argued that the Constitution should be interpreted “according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the states, that in which it was advocated by its friends, and not that which its enemies apprehended.”
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