Two weeks ago, League City became the first Texas town to nullify federal gun statutes. It was clear from the beginning, however, that it would not be the last. Numerous municipals legislators had contacted the town's City Council for advice. A dozen other cities had reached out for a copy of the resolution.
League City, helmed by a Tea Party ascendant, had tapped into a strain of anti-federal bellicosity that hadn't been seen in decades. They propped a door that opened questions and interest from cities across the state, and across the nation. Now, one town has lifted League City's mantle and has instantly become, once more, the symbol of federal firearm nullification in Texas.
Resolution No. 2013-12, passed last week in Gonzales, is nearly identical in tone and structure to League City's. Citing Constitutional supremacy and sworn oaths, the Gonzales City Council unanimously passed a measure staking that all federal restrictions, bans, and registration processes are "not the supreme law of the land ... and shall be further considered null and void and of no effect in [Gonzales.]"
While the resolution does not bar federal agents from carrying out their legislative authority -- unlike proposed HB 553, which would consider such enforcement a criminal offense -- it instructs city officials and employees "to refuse requests or directives by federal agencies acting under unconstitutional powers"; that is, by those who would attempt to implement federal measures restricting firearms. (Interestingly, should a future moment arise in which the predominance of Gonzales ended up favoring certain restrictions, city officials would nevertheless remain legally barred from aiding federal agents.)
"The City Council felt like a statement needed to be made that there are certain rights provided to American citizens that it's our duty as public officials to protect," Allen Barnes, Gonzales's city manager, told Hair Balls. "To me, it's a unified statement. It's standing up for America."
But this isn't simply another tumbledown Texas town following in some Great New Craze sweeping the state. This is Gonzales. This is the hinge of the Texas Revolution. This is the town that provided nearly a quarter of the fatalities at the Alamo. This is a town whose flag has been co-opted by every sovereign citizen and communal militia, well-regulated or otherwise, that seeks to carve out its own security space.
This is a town founded on a dare. This is a town that can see purported parallels between Then and Now better than most.
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"Gonzales have a unique perspective," Barnes said. "We are who we are because of the fight against gun control. ... One tag-line we've been bouncing are was, 'We've been fighting gun control since 1835.' And we just felt -- given our history, given the spirit of our community -- that it was incumbent upon the council that we continue to express our support of freedom and our opposition to suppression of that freedom."
Of course, all federal restrictions are but hypothesis -- even Barnes admitted concern that this resolution may have been a bit "premature." But the resolution is now noted. And where there was only one Texas town nullifying federal gun regulation, now stand two.
"'Come and Take It' is known throughout the world," Barnes says. "It's part and parcel of the fight against tyranny."