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About those guns...
OUR VIEW

About those guns...

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A majority of conservative Alabama state senators believe they’ve found an ingenious solution to federal restrictions they disagree with — simply criminalize their enforcement.

Those 21 senators approved legislation last week that would impose misdemeanor charges on law enforcement should they enforce any new federal gun control measures. The Alabama Second Amendment Preservation Act “would expand freedom and liberty for Alabama citizens by ensuring that certain federal restrictions would not be supported by the government or the government agencies of Alabama,” bill sponsor Sen. Gerald Allen said.

The problem, as any high-school government student should know, is that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution holds that federal law supersedes any conflicting state law.

“We are going to get sued,” said Sen. Rodger Smitherman, a Birmingham Democrat. “We are going to lose.”

Similar legislation is gaining ground in several states in response to the Biden Administration’s efforts to address gun crimes. According to the Gun Violence Archive, 2020 saw 600 mass shootings in which four or more people were killed, not including the perpetrator. In 2021 so far, the organization has tracked 147, the most recent being at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis on April 15, which left eight dead.

The intent of such legislation — a show of support of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms — would be better expressed as a legislative resolution. By codifying a prohibition of enforcement in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution, lawmakers are putting the state’s peace officers in an untenable position between violating state law or committing unconstitutional acts, and setting taxpayers on a path to foot the bill for litigation that is bound to fail.

The Alabama House must send the Second Amendment Preservation Act to a swift death; the Senate needs a remedial course in basic constitutional law.

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