Ask Pennsylvania to Reject Unconstitutional Gun Law

Target: Pennsylvania Legislature

Goal: Reject bill that voids federal gun control laws in the state

A Republican lawmaker in Pennsylvania said he plans to introduce legislation that would make any new federal laws on guns unenforceable within the state’s borders, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. reported.

State Representative Daryl Metcalfe, a conservative Republican from Butler County, announced on January 23 that he would soon be unveiling House Bill 357, (a reference to the .357 magnum firearm), which would prohibit enforcement of any new federal registration, restriction or prohibition requirement for privately owned firearms, magazines and ammunition within the state.

The bill, modeled after legislation recently introduced in Texas and Wyoming, and titled the “Right to Bear Arms Protection Act,” would also require the state, including the Attorney General’s Office, to intercede on behalf of Pennsylvania citizens against any federal attempt to register, restrict or ban the purchase or ownership of firearms and gun accessories that are currently legal products.

Metcalfe said passage of his bill would preclude President Obama and Democrats from what he believes is the exploitation of “wicked acts of murderers in order advance their senseless gun-grabbing agenda.”

“Passage of my legislation will send the message that there will never be additional gun control, anywhere in Pennsylvania,” Metcalfe said.

The lawmaker said the state constitution makes it “crystal clear that no level of government, especially the federal government, has any authority whatsoever to impose senseless restrictions on law-abiding firearms owners, or worse, the confiscation of legally owned firearms.”

“The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned,” Metcalfe continued, quoting Article 1, Section 21 of the Commonwealth’s Constitution. The law would mean that anyone, including federal agents, who attempt to enforce any type of gun control restriction within the commonwealth’s borders would be subject to arrest and felony charges.

Laws such as these are sure to create a legal tension between state governments and the federal government. If challenged in court, the Obama Administration would likely argue that under the U.S. Supremacy Clause, measures such as Metcalfe’s would be moot. The Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, dictates that “duly-enacted” federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land,” and thus, would supersede state laws like the one Metcalfe is proposing.

Ask the Pennsylvania legislature to reject this bill that would infringe on potential federal gun laws.


Dear Pennsylvania Legislature,

In the wake of the important national conversation on gun violence, President Obama has issued 23 executive orders and Congress has introduced several new bills in an attempt to curb the type of tragedy we saw in Newtown, Connecticut last month and continue to see throughout the United States. However, many lawmakers, particularly those with ties to the gun lobby, are rejecting any such reform, and some are even proposing unconstitutional overreach to nullify any federal law within state or local borders. This is a clear violation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, and proves that gun rights supporters will stop at nothing to reject any common sense solutions proposed by the President or Congress.

The refusal to cooperate or participate meaningfully in the discussion of gun violence reflects a self-interested agenda and one that cannot come to supersede the crucial reforms that most Americans are eager to see realized. We implore you to reject Representative Metcalfe’s bill and continue to work toward effective gun law reform that honors the Second Amendment while ensuring that American families will not have to continue to endure tragic and senseless loss. The type of legislation proposed by Metcalfe is wrought with harmful anti-government sentiment. It also defies our Constitution, the will of the American people, and the urgent and pressing desire to address the horrific epidemic of gun violence in this country.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: Andrew Magill via flickr

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