The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


May 12, 2013

Gun law salve that won't heal

Legislators sometimes pass laws that have practical applications. Sometimes they pass laws that do little more than make them and their constituents feel better. A bill in the Alabama Senate regarding gun control is probably more the latter than the former. The Senate bill declares federal gun control laws in violation of the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment and declares them null and void in Alabama. If anything can be said about Alabama's history, it's that picking fights with the federal government is largely futile and often disastrous. The bill's sponsors say they hope it will enable the state to avoid being forced to enforce federal laws that it thinks are unconstitutional.

State cooperation with federal agencies is frequently more voluntary than coerced. So, it seems unlikely that the federal government will be able to force state agencies to do its gun control dirty work.

Many Alabama citizens feel helpless and frustrated. It seems as if people far from here would impose sensibilities on the entire country that make little sense here. Sometimes our faith in our system of government gets shaken. But it's worth remembering that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of individuals to own firearms. That means that the system, in that case, worked well. Alabama citizens and its legislators should have a little faith in the system. We're not suggesting that they trust the government in all things. It has proven unworthy of blanket trust. But, the Constitution is here to protect the rights we hold dear. It has done that well for 225 years.

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