There was a video posted by Jack Hunter called “Gunning Down the Constitution” that comments on what the outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Chicago gun ban would entail for the concept of states’ rights.
Hunter’s argument is essentially that the Bill of Rights are amendments to the federal constitution and thus inapplicable to the states. So, if Chicago/Illinois wants to ban guns, while it may go against the the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, it does not go against the law of the state of Illinois (at least by ruling of Illinois courts). Therefore, while it may be illegal for the federal government to ban guns, it is not illegal for Illinois to ban guns in Illinois.
The danger Hunter presents is that if the Supreme Court declares the gun ban of Illinois illegal, it means that the 9th and 10th amendments become null because the federal government is dictating what a state government can make law (outside of the enumerated powers of the federal government in the Constitution). The Bill of Rights prohibits what the federal government may make law, but does not prohibit what the state government may make a law.
Allison Bricker of the Smoking Argus recently posted a rebuttal article to the video arguing that the states have the ability to check to federal government’s powers and the federal government has the ability to check the state government’s powers. She claims that the states, upon entering the union, agreed to the principles of the union which are defined in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, etc. Her main argument is that America was set up so that natural rights are not infringed by any government.
They recently had a debate on the libertypulse.com radio stream. Bricker argued that no government has the right to infringe upon natural rights. Her argument tended to be centered an philisophical concepts and less on concrete US law, although she mentioned organic law as her defense.
I personally agree with Hunter that the Constitution declares what the federal government may do as well as specifically prohibiting what it may do and that a state government is not bound by the US Constitution in making laws. If it were, than one could make the case that the US Constitution, if applicable to state governments, would allow them to coin their own money, make tarriffs, etc.
So while it would be dumb and unconstitutional for Washington DC to declare a gun ban, it is dumb but not unconstitutional for Illinois to declare one. If one were to disagree with Illinois’ ruling, then they can move, or as Reagan would say, “vote with your feet.”
I think this is an interesting argument and would like hear what other YAL members have to say on the subject: Do you agree with Hunter, Bricker, or another solution entirely?Published in