If it's not the craziest fucking bill filed in Olympia this session, HB 1371, the Washington State Firearms Freedom Act of 2013, certainly ranks right up there. The bill, among other things, seeks to nullify federal gun laws, making enforcement of said laws by federal agents a felony under state law, punishable by up to five years in jail.
Because that wouldn't trigger a constitutional crisis, no.
The bill is based upon some fringe constitutional theory that claims that the ninth and tenth amendments "reserve to the state and people of Washington certain powers as they were understood at the time that Washington was admitted to statehood in 1889." By that measure, Jim Crow laws would be perfectly legal in Washington state, regardless of the past century and a quarter of federal legislation and jurisprudence. Indeed, slavery would presumedly still be legal throughout the states of the Confederacy because that was a state power as it was understood at the time that these states were admitted to the union. Interesting theory. The ninth and tenth amendments also, the bill concludes, reserve the regulation of intrastate commerce to the states.
With this novel constitutional foundation in place, the bill then declares that all firearms, ammunition, and firearms accessories manufactured in Washington State, and that remain within its borders are "not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration." So there! I guess.
Similar to our recently passed pot legalization law, HB 1371 instructs state officials not to enforce federal laws on such intrastate firearms. But the bill goes much further, declaring any federal official who attempts to enforce such laws within Washington's borders to be guilty of a felony punishable by between one and five years in prison and/or up to a $10,000 fine. Watch your step, ATF!
But wait, there's more! The bill also nullifies any and all federal laws enacted or effective on or after January 1, 2013, that attempt to ban or restrict ownership of semiautomatic weapons or high capacity magazines, or that require registration of any weapon. Section 11 (1)(d) also slips in a "stand your ground" provision (thanks, ALEC!). And finally, the bill would strike a provision in current statute that permits the governor to temporarily prohibit during a state of emergency the possession of firearms outside of one's home or business. Because nothing makes one feel safer during an emergency than roving bands of armed civilians.
And to be clear, this bill isn't just the work of some lone nut job. Ten Republican state representatives signed onto this bill, which is just one of a series of related Firearms Freedom Acts being introduced in legislatures throughout the nation. Faced with a wave of public sentiment demanding tighter gun laws, Republicans just double down and go full crazy. Because that's how Republicans roll.