Protecting Our Firearms Freedom
by Mark DuBois
Between 2006 and 2016, Mississippi’s firearms laws were incrementally changed to remove most restrictions on firearms carry and use, so that now citizens can carry a concealed firearm without a permit to most places in the state. But now that our state laws have finally (mostly) acknowledged our God-given rights as outlined in the U.S. and Mississippi Constitutions, the next battle is against federal laws and their ever-increasing restrictions that affect the purchase or possession of firearms, magazines, ammunition and accessories; and also attempts to keep records of all such purchases.
The Constitution grants Congress the power “to regulate commerce…among the several states…” Since most firearms, ammunition and accessories that are purchased in one state are manufactured in another state, Congress claims the authority to place numerous restrictions and requirements on the manufacture and sale of those items. In some states, there have been legislative attempts to protect manufacturers and purchasers in their states from these limitations. Montana passed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act in 2009, and was followed by 9 other states enacting similar laws, and a further 23 states (including Mississippi) having bills introduced that didn’t become law. Unfortunately, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Montana law on the grounds that guns, ammo or accessories manufactured and purchased completely within that state might eventually make their way out of the state. This is a huge overreach from the original intent of the Commerce Clause, but overreach has long been the general pattern of all branches of the federal government. The Supreme Court declined to take the case on appeal, leaving dead the Montana law, and other 9th Circuit states’ laws. But with the conservative shift in the high court since then, and our being under the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas), maybe there’s still hope for this approach.
The latest battle on the firearms freedom front is the implementation of state laws prohibiting local or state law enforcement officers, or other state officials, from enforcing federal laws that are more restrictive than the Second Amendment and their state constitutions allow. Called Second Amendment Preservation Acts (SAPAs), Idaho and Missouri passed versions in 2021. These state SAPAs do not require officials to disobey any federal laws - they simply prohibit them from enforcing the laws. Examples of federal laws or rules/regulations that would be implicated (some anticipated, some already enacted) are so-called “Red Flag Laws” (that could be used to disarm citizens without due process, violating their Fifth Amendment rights), and laws banning some firearms, magazines above certain capacities, and certain accessories.
With Mississippi’s next legislative session beginning early next month, I would encourage all of you to SIGN the Petition asking your elected representatives and senators to protect your firearms rights from the federal government’s overreach by passing a Firearms Freedom Act and a Second Amendment Protection Act.
Mark DuBois is a Captain for a major airline. He is a life-long resident of Mississippi, graduating from Southaven High School and Mississippi State University, where he earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering. He was commissioned as an officer through Air Force ROTC at MSU and then spent 9 years as an Air Force pilot. He has been married for 34 years to his high school sweetheart, Michele. They have four adult children.