By P J Klosinski
What defines the individual right to self-protection? That would depend upon what an individual believes. Some believe a constitutional right to be absolute with no government ability to legislate terms. Others believe the government has the authority to determine the extent to which any individual right may be executed because of compelling government interest.
Today the meanings of rights have been so convoluted by unauthorized legislation and the interposition of judicial determination which seemingly legislate from the bench it is understandable why individuals would be confused.
The Oath of office for Indiana government agents is one which demands compliance with the law governing this state. Indiana declares that Law to include: “The Constitution of the United States and of this state” as well as “All statutes of the United States in force, and relating to subjects over which congress has power to legislate for the states, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States.
This Law of Indiana unambiguously recognizes that the federal government is only provided authority which is clearly stated in the U.S. Constitution and that such authority does not extend any further. When the federal government passes anything which applies to the states it must depend upon the states to comply. Usually, compliance has been controlled through the “free money” given by the feds to implement such programs. Federal gun laws have been no exception. The government using funding to coerce compliance is the usual tactic.
Should individual rights or an Oath to uphold the Constitutions be invalid because the state is forced to cooperate with the federal government in gun law enforcement? HB 1051 states that there is an individual right to bear arms which shall not be infringed thus emphasizing the Law of Indiana hierarchy.
The legislation claims “it is the intent of the general assembly in enacting this article to protect Indiana employees”. . . .” from being directed, through federal executive orders, agency orders, statutes, laws, rules, or regulations enacted or promulgated after January 1, 2017, to violate their oath of office and individual rights affirmed under the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article 1, Section 32 of the Constitution of Indiana”. However, there is no language in this bill providing Indiana employees with protection against the federal government defining what that protection will be and how such protection would be implemented by Indiana.
HB 1051 further explains in Chapter 1 “Legislative Statements” “anticommandeering principles” and cites the United States Supreme Court in Printz v. United States, 11 521 U.S. 898 (1997) which held: “The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program”.
Chapter 2 simply defines “political subdivision” as having the meaning in current code IC 36-1-2-13.
Chapter 3 “Prohibitions” prohibits: “Knowingly or intentionally participate in any way in the enforcement of a federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation issued, enacted, or promulgated after January 1, 2017, regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition”. State agents are further prohibited from the use of any assets or funds allocated by the state to engage in any prohibited gun related activity that aids the federal government in enforcement or investigation in connection with enforcement.
Chapter 4. “Penalties” a state or political subdivision employee or agent who violates this new law would “commit a Class B infraction”. Any of the specified individuals who knowingly or intentionally violates and has a prior conviction or adjudication for violation “commits a Class A misdemeanor”.
Next HB 1051 applies penalties to the subdivision for adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy requiring violation of this code. Violating subdivisions “ may not receive state grant funds” with the state grant funds denied for the fiscal year following the year final judicial determination is made.
While the bill professes the intent is to protect Indiana employees it punishes the individual actor under specified Code for non-compliance. The political entity will be controlled by withholding funds but the bill fails to elaborate what actions Indiana will take to protect either the individual or the political subdivision from federal retaliation. Federal retaliation would likely take the form of lost funding from the federal government which has always been an argument against any nullification by some who believe we should always get our share of the “free” federal money.
While HB 1051 would set a standard and serve notice to the federal government to keep their hands off our Right to bear arms Indiana must be prepared for the reaction of both lost funding to subdivisions and the public who may not understand this bill is to protect the individual from the unauthorized acts of the federal government.