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H.B. 114

             1     

SECOND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION ACT

             2     
2013 GENERAL SESSION

             3     
STATE OF UTAH

             4     
Chief Sponsor: Brian M. Greene

             5     
Senate Sponsor: ____________

             6     
             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill declares that the regulation of firearms is reserved completely to the state and
             10      provides penalties for the prosecution of anyone attempting to enforce federal laws to
             11      the contrary.
             12      Highlighted Provisions:
             13          This bill:
             14          .    affirms that it is the exclusive authority of the Legislature to adopt and enact any
             15      and all laws, orders, rules, or regulations regarding the manufacture, transfer,
             16      possession, ownership, and use of firearms exclusively within this state;
             17          .    provides that any federal action that attempts to impose limitations on firearms
             18      contrary to the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, or the
             19      Constitution or laws of the State of Utah, is unenforceable in this state;
             20          .    creates a penalty for any enforcement of federal laws contrary to Utah laws or the
             21      United States or Utah Constitutions; and
             22          .    allows the attorney general to defend state officers, employees, and citizens
             23      prosecuted under certain federal laws.
             24      Money Appropriated in this Bill:
             25          None
             26      Other Special Clauses:
             27          This bill provides an immediate effective date.


             28          This bill provides revisor instructions.
             29      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             30      ENACTS:
             31          53-5c-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             32          53-5c-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             33          53-5c-103, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             34          53-5c-104, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             35          53-5c-105, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             36     
             37      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             38          Section 1. Section 53-5c-101 is enacted to read:
             39     
CHAPTER 5c. SECOND AMENDMENT PRESERVATION ACT

             40          53-5c-101. Title.
             41          This chapter is known as the "Second Amendment Preservation Act."
             42          Section 2. Section 53-5c-102 is enacted to read:
             43          53-5c-102. Legislative authority.
             44          (1) In addition to the provisions of Sections 53-5a-102 and 76-10-500 , the Legislature
             45      declares that it is the exclusive authority of the Legislature to adopt and enact any and all
             46      measures it considers necessary to prevent the enforcement of any federal acts, laws, orders,
             47      rules, or regulations that violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United
             48      States, or the Constitution or laws of this state.
             49          (2) All laws, orders, rules, and regulations pertaining to firearms, firearm accessories,
             50      or ammunition enacted or authorized by the Legislature shall enjoy legal primacy within this
             51      state over any and all conflicting federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations pertaining to
             52      firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition.
             53          (3) Any federal act, law, order, rule, regulation, or tax created on or after the effective
             54      date of this chapter is unenforceable within the borders of Utah if the act, law, order, rule,
             55      regulation, or tax:
             56          (a) prohibits or restricts the manufacture, ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of any
             57      specific type of firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition;
             58          (b) requires enhanced criminal background checks or waiting periods in connection


             59      with the purchase or transfer of any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition;
             60          (c) requires the ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of any firearm, firearm
             61      accessory, or ammunition to be registered in any manner; or
             62          (d) requires the disclosure or sharing of personal information connected with the
             63      ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition with
             64      the federal government or other states without the written consent of the individual to whom
             65      the personal information pertains.
             66          Section 3. Section 53-5c-103 is enacted to read:
             67          53-5c-103. Prohibition of federal deputization of state officers -- Immunity of state
             68      and local officers and employees.
             69          (1) An officer or employee of this state, or of any political subdivision, may not accept
             70      permanent or temporary deputization or other official status from the federal government for
             71      the purposes of conducting activities prohibited by this chapter.
             72          (2) An officer or employee of this state, or of any political subdivision, is immune from
             73      prosecution by the federal government for refusal to enforce any act, law, order, rule, or
             74      regulation of the federal government relating to a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or
             75      ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in Utah while the same
             76      remains exclusively within the borders of Utah.
             77          Section 4. Section 53-5c-104 is enacted to read:
             78          53-5c-104. Offenses and penalties.
             79          (1) An officer or employee of this state, or any political subdivision, may not enforce
             80      or attempt to enforce any act, law, order, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government
             81      relating to a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured
             82      commercially or privately in this state while it remains exclusively within the borders of Utah.
             83          (2) An official, agent, or employee of the federal government may not enforce or
             84      attempt to enforce any act, law, order, rule, or regulation of the federal government upon a
             85      personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured commercially or
             86      privately in this state while it remains exclusively within this state. Violation of this
             87      Subsection (2) is a third degree felony.
             88          Section 5. Section 53-5c-105 is enacted to read:
             89          53-5c-105. Defense of officers, employees, and citizens.


             90          (1) Officers and employees of this state and its political subdivisions shall affirmatively
             91      act to preserve, protect, and defend the inalienable right of self-preservation of all citizens,
             92      including the right to keep and bear arms and to use those arms for all legal purposes, including
             93      the defense of self, family, others, property, and the state.
             94          (2) The attorney general shall develop and maintain a program to provide for the
             95      defense of an officer, employee, or citizen of this state who is prosecuted by the United States
             96      government for violation of a federal act, law, order, rule, or regulation relating to the
             97      manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition
             98      when the activity is contained exclusively within the borders of Utah. A person facing
             99      prosecution may apply to the attorney general for assistance.
             100          Section 6. Effective date.
             101          If approved by two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, this bill takes effect
             102      upon approval by the governor, or the day following the constitutional time limit of Utah
             103      Constitution Article VII, Section 8, without the governor's signature, or in the case of a veto,
             104      the date of veto override.
             105          Section 7. Revisor instructions.
             106          The Legislature intends that the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, in
             107      preparing the Utah Code database for publication, replace the language in Subsection
             108      53-5c-102 (3) from "the effective date of this chapter" with the bill's actual effective date.




Legislative Review Note
    as of 2-1-13 6:25 PM


As required by legislative rule and practice, the Office of Legislative Research and General
Counsel provides the following legislative review note to assist the Legislature in making its
own determination as to the constitutionality of the bill. The note is based on an analysis of
relevant state and federal constitutional law as applied to the bill. The note is not written for
the purpose of influencing whether the bill should become law, but is written to provide
information relevant to legislators' consideration of this bill. The note is not a substitute for the
judgment of the judiciary, which has authority to determine the constitutionality of a law in the
context of a specific case.

This bill provides that: (1) the regulation of firearms, including their manufacture, transfer,
possession, sale, and use within this state, is not subject to federal regulation; (2) an officer,


employee, or agent of the federal government who enforces any federal act, law, order, rule,
regulation, or tax on a Utah firearm that is manufactured and remains within the state of Utah is
guilty of a third degree felony; (3) the federal government is prohibited from deputizing local
law enforcement officers for the purposes of enforcing federal firearms laws; (4) any federal
act, law, order, rule, or regulation that requires any registration of, or the sharing of, personal
information connected with the ownership, possession, sale, or transfer of any firearm,
magazine, accessory, or ammunition is unenforceable in this state; and (5) Utah's attorney
general shall create a program to provide for the defense of any state officers, employees, or
citizens prosecuted under a federal act relating to firearms manufacture, use, sale, or
possession, including the possession of ammunition, when the activity is contained exclusively
within this state.

As drafted, these provisions raise issues relating to the United States Constitution's Supremacy
Clause, contained in Article VI, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, which provides:
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States . . . shall be the supreme Law of the
Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or
Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Under existing standards of jurisprudence,
and particularly the United States Supreme Court case of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137
(U.S. 1803), the United States Supreme Court has the final say on the meaning and
interpretation of provisions of the United States Constitution. Consequently, the determinations
of the United States Supreme Court, and direct extrapolations from those opinions, provide the
only objective basis for evaluating the constitutionality of legislation. Consequently, this note
relies on United States Supreme Court opinions in analyzing the constitutionality of this
legislation.

The United States Supreme Court has "long recognized that state laws that conflict with federal
law are 'without effect,'" Altria Group, Inc. v. Good, 555 U.S. 70, 76 (2008), quoting
Maryland v. Louisiana, 451 U.S. 725, 746 (1981), and has further held that an individual
cannot be guilty of a state crime if the individual was acting necessarily and properly under the
authority of the laws of the United States. Cunningham v. Neagle, 135 U.S. 1, 75 (1890).

Federal firearms laws currently impose restrictions on firearms including: sale and transfer (18
U.S.C. §922(b)); possession (18 U.S.C. § 922(g) and (n)); and that every manufacturer have a
federal license (18 U.S.C. § 923(a)). Additionally, the federal laws include a provision
declaring the federal law as controlling if a state law "direct[ly] and positive[ly]" conflicts with
the federal law. (18 U.S.C. § 927) These provisions, coupled with the United States
Constitution's Supremacy Clause, suggest that there is a high probability that this legislation
would be held unconstitutional.

While this legislation limits itself to wholly intrastate conduct, it is not beyond the reach of
Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Judicial
interpretation of federal firearms laws has held that Congress has the power to regulate wholly
intrastate conduct. See, e.g. United States v. Lebman, 464 F.2d 68, 71 (5th Cir. 1972) (stating
that "Congress intended to and had the authority, under its commerce power, to regulate the
intrastate transactions at issue here."). This interpretation by the United States Supreme Court


of federal firearms laws is consistent with the United States Supreme Court's rationale for
allowing regulation of other wholly intrastate conduct. See, e.g. Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S.
111, 128-29 (1942) (holding that Congress may regulate wholly intrastate conduct if the failure
to regulate that conduct would "have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing"
Congress's purpose in regulation of other, interstate conduct). This long-standing interpretation
of the Commerce Clause has been sustained by the United States Supreme Court in Gonzales v.
Raich
, 545 U.S. 1 (2005). A federal circuit court directly applied this interpretation to firearms,
stating: "The Congressional purpose, set forth in the legislative history, is to assist the states
effectively to regulate firearms traffic within their borders. Illegal intrastate transfer of firearms
is part of a pattern which affects the national traffic and Congress can validly enact a
comprehensive program regulating all transfers of firearms." United States v. Petrucci, 486
F.2d 329, 331 (9th Cir. 1973) (citations omitted).

Congress has provided a comprehensive system for regulating firearms, including broad
licensing requirements. Congress has also provided that contrary state laws are invalid.
Existing judicial interpretations of Congress's power to regulate intrastate conduct allow the
manufacture, possession, and sale of firearms to be restricted by federal law, while allowing
some room for state laws, but only if they are not directly contrary to federal law.

The provision making the enforcement of federal firearms laws a third degree felony would
likely be held to have a chilling effect on federal officers' authority. The Supreme Court, in
Tennessee v. Davis, 100 U.S. 257 (U.S. 1880), addressed this issue briefly in its review of
whether a federal agent being prosecuted by a state for carrying out his federal duties can
require removal of the case to a federal court. In the midst of a 40-plus page opinion, the Court
noted:
    [The general government] can act only through its officers and agents, and they
must act within the States. If, when thus acting, and within the scope of their
authority, those officers can be arrested and brought to trial in a State court, for
an alleged offence against the law of the State. . . the operations of the general
government may at any time be arrested at the will of one of its members. The
legislation of a State may be unfriendly. It may affix penalties to acts done
under the immediate direction of the national government, and in obedience to
its laws. It may deny the authority conferred by those laws. The State court
may administer not only the laws of the State, but equally Federal law, in such a
manner as to paralyze the operations of the government.... We do not think such
an element of weakness is to be found in the Constitution. The United States is
a government with authority extending over the whole territory of the Union,
acting upon the States and upon the people of the States. While it is limited in
the number of its powers, so far as its sovereignty extends it is supreme. No
State government can exclude it from the exercise of any authority conferred
upon it by the Constitution, obstruct its authorized officers against its will, or
withhold from it, for a moment, the cognizance of any subject which that
instrument has committed to it. Id. at 262-263
From this rationale, there is a high probability that a court, if faced with a federal officer
charged under this legislation, would reaffirm the supremacy of federal law and declare this


portion of the law unenforceable.

The issue of deputization of state officers for federal purposes has not been directly addressed
in an arena where criminal laws are being enforced. However, in City of New York v. United
States
, 179 F.3d 29 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1999), on the question of the enforcement of civil provisions
of federal immigration law vis-a-vis the Tenth Amendment, the court stated "[a] system of dual
sovereignties cannot work without informed, extensive, and cooperative interaction of a
voluntary nature between sovereign systems for the mutual benefit of each system. The
operation of dual sovereigns thus involves mutual dependencies as well as differing political
and policy goals. . . The potential for deadlock thus inheres in dual sovereignties, but the
Constitution has resolved that problem in the Supremacy Clause, which bars states from taking
actions that frustrate federal laws and regulatory schemes. We therefore hold that states do not
retain under the Tenth Amendment an untrammeled right to forbid all voluntary cooperation by
state or local officials with particular federal programs." Id. at 35 (citations omitted).

In conclusion, this legislation purports to limit the reach of the federal law and is inconsistent
with existing federal firearms provisions. Based on the federal statutes and case law described
above, there is a high probability that a court will find that this bill violates the Supremacy and
Commerce Clauses to the extent that it conflicts with current federal regulation of firearms and
establishes a criminal penalty for federal government agents who attempt to enforce federal
law.

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel


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