The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 17, 2013

Sheriffs, state lawmakers push back on gun control

(Continued)

Tennessee Republican state Rep. Joe Carr wants to make it a state crime for federal agents to enforce any ban on firearms or ammunition. Carr instead called for more armed guards at schools.

"We're tired of political antics, cheap props of using children as bait to gin up emotional attachment for an issue that quite honestly doesn't solve the problem," Carr said.

Legislative proposals to pre-empt new federal gun restrictions also have arisen in Wyoming, Utah and Alaska.

A Wyoming bill specifies that any federal limitation on guns would be unenforceable. It also would make it a state felony for federal agents to try to enforce restrictions.

"I think there are a lot of people who would want to take all of our guns if they could," said co-sponsor Rep. Kendell Kroeker, a Republican. "And they're only restrained by the opposition of the people, and other lawmakers who are concerned about our rights."

Republican state Sen. Larry Hicks credited Wyoming's high rate of gun ownership for a low rate of gun violence.

"Our kids grow up around firearms, and they also grow up hunting, and they know what the consequences are of taking a life," Hicks said. "We're not insulated from the real world in Wyoming."

In Utah, some Republicans are preparing legislation to exempt the state from federal gun laws — and fine any federal agents who try to seize guns. A bill in the Alaska House would make it a misdemeanor for a federal agent to enforce new restrictions on gun ownership.

While such proposals are eye-catching, they likely could never be implemented.

"The legislature can pass anything it wants," said Sam Kamin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver. "The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes that clearly unconstitutional. Where there's a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme."

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