From Missouri to Oregon, Texas to Tennessee, lawmakers and law enforcement officials in as many as seven states across the country reacted to President Obama’s plans to pass federal gun control laws by saying they would introduce laws that prevented the federal government from enforcing the president’s gun laws in their states.
According to a rundown by ABC News, governors and state legislators in Tennessee, Missouri, Texas, Mississippi and Wyoming have pledged to introduce Obama’s laws from applying in their state when passed. In addition, sheriffs in Oregon and Kentucky have said they would refuse to enforce the federal laws in their jurisdictions.
It is reminiscent of the battles that the federal government had to wage in the 1960’s against states that refused to follow the law of the land and allow African Americans to integrate public institutions and schools. There has long been a tension between the feds and the states—a tension that has often historically revolved around issues of race.
Though the states are pointing to the most visible elements of Obama’s plan, such as the assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban, the nation already had an assault weapons ban in place for 10 years, from 1994 to 2004. But there wasn’t the same kind of talk of defying President Clinton at the time.
“I am asking that you immediately pass legislation that would make any unconstitutional order by the President illegal to enforce in Mississippi by state or local law enforcement,” Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant wrote in the letter to state lawmakers, adding that other states have “introduced similar measures and I believe we will be successful in preventing this overreaching and anti-constitutional violation of our rights as American citizens.”
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In Texas, state Rep. Steve Toth, who represents an area near Houston, said he would be filing legislation “assisting the protection of the Second Amendment.”
“We can no longer depend on the Federal Government and this Administration to uphold a Constitution that they no longer believe in,” Toth said in a release. “The liberties of the People of Texas and the sovereignty of our State are too important to just let the Federal Government take them away.”
In Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman of Jackson County, told The Lexington Herald-Leader that he would not enforce any laws he considers unconstitutional, saying he has “a team of attorneys to step up with me if necessary to be sure the Second Amendment is upheld,” adding that he considers it “a moral obligation.”