Nullifying Federal Gun Statutes: After League City's Precedent, Towns Across Texas -- and Beyond -- Race to Do The Same
Calhoun would be proud
It's been over two months since League City became the first city in the nation to instruct local officials to forgo federal arms enforcement. League City, owner of the largest rate of concealed handgun licensees in the state, decided that any potential Bushmaster restriction was beyond the pale, and that League City personnel would have to offer silent protest if and when federal officials came to rectify any gun show loopholes and background check shortcomings.
As it is, the resolution turned out to be something of a non-issue. Manchin-Toomey was defeated, and any further momentum to tighten arms regulation has stalled.
"Let's face it -- [the resolution] was really more or less a figurative thing, if you will, if for nothing else city law or state law doesn't trump federal law," Brian Mobley, a concealed handgun trainer at League City's Arms Room, told Hair Balls. "But the fact is that the gun bill failed in the Senate as result of things like this."
Still, that hasn't stopped other local governments from following League City's lead. Gonzales became the second town in the state to pass similar language, driving its Molon Labe legacy into the 21st century. Now, though, according to League City Councilwoman Heidi Thiess, who first brought the resolution forth, the trickle is turning into something approaching a flood. "By this time it's grown legs," Thiess told Hair Balls. "It's out there now in [the] universe."
According to Thiess, nearly a dozen cities and counties across Texas have passed resolution similar to League City's initial statement. "Rockwall, Lake Worth, Simonton, Tiki Island, Pearland, Webster, Bandera County, Galveston County, it's on the agenda for Alvin, soon for Nederland ... I'm still trying to find out who else is doing it," Thiess said.
(As goes Tiki Island, so goes the nation, no one has ever said.)
Rockwall's resolution, which passed in early March, is nearly identical in language to League City's. (Its council was apparently swayed by a high school senior who saw his "rights" being "threatened," though it doesn't appear he elaborated.) No one has been able thus far to point to a city or county where a similar resolution, once proposed, has failed to pass.
In towns like Pearland, however, the resolution struck a milder tone. Instead of declaring that all local officials must sit on their hands when the feds come barging through, the Pearland City Council simply reaffirmed its belief that "any attempt by a government agency to further limit a citizen, state or federal constitutional rights granted to keep and bear arms would be misguided and unconstitutional, and that any such action shall be viewed as infringement on the constitutional rights of the citizens of Pearland."
"There were several people who spoke in favor of the resolution, and I think there's been some information on sites where people have had positive comments," Pearland City Manager Bill Eisen told Hair Balls.
However, as Thiess pointed, the language hasn't been limited solely to Texas. Cedar City, Utah, a small, 30,000-strong redoubt in southern Utah, unanimously became the first city outside Texas to ensure that local officials would forcibly ignore federal statute. As the resolution, passed in mid-February, states,
[All federal arms regulations] that are hereinafter enacted or adopted and that are a violation or infringement of the 2nd Amendment ... are to be considered invalid in Cedar City, shall not be recognized by Cedar City, are specifically rejected by Cedar City, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Cedar City.
Much like the momentum for further regulation has faded, it's possible that the enthusiasm behind nullification is also slowing commensurately. But no matter. League City's move has sparked imitations from Texas to Utah, and, if trends are any indication, potentially beyond.
And that's fine with Thiess. League City, after all, didn't want to be the lone bastion of firearm freedom in the nation. They didn't want to remain alone. "It might be take one person -- or one city -- to start something," Thiess said. "We put all info out there, wrote a little how-to for people who wanted to get it done in their own city. It's not about me, or League City -- it's about this principle. We've been very consistent about that."
Thiess noted that she'd posted a mock resolution for future governments to look over, and plagiarize if necessary. She won't mind if the language is lifted directly. "We're in a position now where the federal government is kind of a Frankenstein," Thiess said. "It's bigger and scarier and far more abusive than the creators ever intended it to be ....
"The federal government is out of people's control," she continued. "We have always believed if that if the federal government is afraid of people, there will be peace and freedom -- but if people fear the government, there will be tyranny."