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Friday, May 24, 2024 | Back issues
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Texas Weighs Bill That Would Buck Gun Control

HOUSTON (CN) - A Texas legislator proposed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor to enforce federal gun-control measures pushed by the Obama administration.

Rep. Steve Toth, a Republican from The Woodlands, recently filed HB 1076 "The Firearms Protection Act."

If the state Legislature passes it, the measure would ban state, county and municipal authorities, including district attorneys, from enforcing any future federal gun control laws.

It would also allow Texas police officers to arrest federal law enforcement agents who attempt to enforce any federal bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines within the state.

In the wake of the murder of 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newton, Conn., President Barack Obama rolled out a gun-control agenda that includes mandating background checks for all gun sales and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Under the measure Toth proposed last week, any Texas governmental entities that enforced federal gun-control laws proposed after Jan. 1, 2013, would lose state grant funds for a year.

Any citizen could also file a complaint with the state's attorney general if they had evidence that an entity was enforcing the laws.

The attorney general could then file a petition for writ of mandamus, "or apply for other appropriate equitable relief in a district court" to compel the entity to stop enforcing the measures.

Toth's bill would also make it a Class A misdemeanor for any government official or law enforcement officer to knowingly enforce any federal gun control measures passed after Jan. 1.

The law takes effect immediately with a two-thirds vote by Texas legislators, and if it does not receive the votes for immediate passage it will take effect on Sept. 1, 2013, according to the bill.

Charles Rhodes, a professor at South Texas College of Law in Houston, told KUHF FM that there is Supreme Court precedent that gives states the right to pass on enforcing a particular federal law.

"But what the state cannot do is interfere, in any way, with the feds' ability to try to enforce those gun control measures in the state of Texas. And any attempt to do that would clearly violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution," Rhodes told KUHF.

Toth's bill is modeled after legislation introduced in Wyoming.

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