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How does the Firearms Freedom Act work?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Skribs, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    Someone posted the link the site below in another thread, and it got me wondering, how does something like the FFA work? From what I understand, the state will not prosecute someone for owning a federally regulated weapon, but the federal government can?

    Let's say I live in a state with the FFA and absolutely no restrictions on guns. I buy a full-auto SMG that was produced in that state. According to NFA I should register it, according to the GCA it's complete contraband. The state makes it legal and uses the 10th amendment in attempt to preempt the ATF. In this situation, could the ATF have my weapons confiscated and/or have me arrested?

    My state doesn't have such an act yet, and I'm not sure what the registration requirements are otherwise, but I'm curious if more states go pro-freedom and the US overall goes pro-ban, what the legal result is going to be.

  2. tyeo098

    tyeo098 Well-Known Member

    You know what CO and WA did with pot?

    Same thing but with guns.
  3. Birch Knoll

    Birch Knoll Well-Known Member

    Laws like the Firearms Freedom Act have exactly zero effect; they are symbolic only. The Federal government is in no way bound by them.

    The problem is in the current interpretation of the Commerce Power, which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce between the states. A gun which is manufactured within a state and sold within that state, never having moved in interstate commerce, ought to not fall under Congress' power, right? Wrong, under the law as currently interpreted by the courts. It is enough that the gun has affected interstate commerce, in this case, by *not* having moved in interstate commerce. Voila!, the gun comes under Congress' power to regulate.

    Until the Commerce Power is reigned in, all the Firearms Freedom Acts in the world won't keep the Feds from enforcing Federal law in regard to your locally manufactured guns.
  4. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

    Essentially it doesn't.

    If something is illegal under federal law, it is still illegal even if it is not illegal under state law. This simply means that you will get arrested by the FBI, ATF, U. S. Marshall or DEA, instead of the local police or sheriff; you will be tried in federal court instead of state court; and you will go to a federal prison instead of a state prison.

    The Founding Fathers provided in the Constitution (Article VI, Clause 2, emphasis added):

    The Founding Fathers also provided in the Constitution (Article III):

    See also Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1 (2005).
  5. Skribs

    Skribs Well-Known Member

    Tyeo, I don't smoke pot, so I haven't paid attention to the effects of those laws.
  6. Phatty

    Phatty Well-Known Member

    Federal gun laws were enacted pursuant to the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce (referred to as the Commerce Clause). A State's only plausible argument for challenging a federal gun law is that the law exceeds the scope of the Commerce Clause.

    That argument only has a possibility of succeeding if the State can show that the guns at issue never move through interstate commerce (i.e. manufactured in that State and never leave that State). I recall that Montana passed (or was going to pass) a law like this and it may have been challenged in court but I don't remember the result. Based on recent Supreme Court decisions interpreting the Commerce Clause, this argument has an extremely slim chance of succeeding.
  7. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    I believe some (TN?) of these laws simply say, "Federal gun laws will not apply in our state," (words to that effect). I'd imagine not a single legislator believes such a thing is more than a "message to DC."
  8. Birch Knoll

    Birch Knoll Well-Known Member

    They might as well pass a law stating that "Gravity does not apply in this state".
  9. Sol

    Sol Well-Known Member

    Sounds like Wickard v. Filburn rears its ugly head again.
  10. ec4321

    ec4321 member

    Ha. Ya, it's not quite that bad.

    If you have enough States enacting such laws, it really erodes the credibility of the federal government. Marijuana, Guns, etc... if majority of the states had laws that explicitly defied the federal government, indeed it would very difficult for the feds to act upon those laws over time.
  11. Birch Knoll

    Birch Knoll Well-Known Member

    It erodes the credibility of the states, too, since these laws are themselve unconstitutional.

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