Wyoming Legislators Seek to Block Federal Gun Restrictions

As the Obama administration prepares to unveil a comprehensive gun control proposal, state Rep. Kendell Kroeker introduced a bill that would block federal restrictions on guns -- any of them.
by | January 11, 2013

By Jim Malewitz

Wyoming lawmakers are sending a stern message to the Obama administration as it prepares to unveil a comprehensive gun control proposal: Don’t even think about it, at least not in Wyoming.

State Representative Kendell Kroeker introduced a bill this week that would block federal restrictions on guns -- any of them.

Under the legislation, which carries the names of nine other lawmakers in the deeply conservative state, “any federal law which attempts to ban a semi-automatic firearm or to limit the size of a magazine of a firearm or other limitation on firearms in this state shall be unenforceable in Wyoming.” And any agent seeking to enforce federal gun laws would be guilty of a felony, which carries a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

“I think that it’s necessary when the federal government violates our rights in the Constitution we have to act,” said Kroeker, according to the Washington Examiner. The Republican told the paper he has received as many as 50 emails from constituents thanking him for introducing the legislation. “I don’t think this is controversial in Wyoming at all,” he said. “I fully expect this bill to pass.”

The bill comes as lawmakers in many other states are pushing wide-ranging controls on guns and bullets, spurred by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. Meanwhile, a federal task force headed by Vice President Joseph Biden is expected to deliver recommendations for comprehensive legislation aimed at curbing gun violence.

The Wyoming bill, however, would face problems in court. It would likely collide with the preemption doctrine, derived from the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which guarantees that any enforceable federal law trumps a conflicting state law.

“It is elementary that a state cannot pass a statute that blocks enforcement of an otherwise enforceable federal law,” Jeffrey Fisher, a Stanford University law professor, told the Huffington Post.

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