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Evers shoots down bill barring enforcement of federal gun laws

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signs the Republican-written state budget that includes a...
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signs the Republican-written state budget that includes a $2 billion income tax cut at Cumberland Elementary School, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Whitefish Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)(Scott Bauer | AP)
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 5:19 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Gov. Tony Evers rejected state lawmakers attempt to prevent any federal bans or restrictions on multiple types of firearms and magazines from being enforced within the Wisconsin borders.

In his veto statement, Evers noted that an attempt by a state government to nullify federal law is explicitly prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. He also expressed concerns that the bill could create confusion for people and law enforcement regarding which laws are in effect and could violate due process rights.

Referencing his October 2019 order for special session of the legislature to take up gun safety measures, Evers argued that residents want their lawmakers to find “common-sense solutions that will both respect and uphold rights while keeping our communities safe.”

“These goals are not mutually exclusive, and I welcome constructive conversations to that end,” he continued in his veto statement.

The bill itself also sought to find protections in the Constitution, citing in its text references to the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments to justify the provision should a court challenge to the legislation arise, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau analysis.

The analysis, which is included in the bill passed by the legislature last month, barred anyone from enforcing a federal law or regulation passed after January 1, 2021, if it banned or restricted semi-automatic firearms, assault weapons, or their magazines.

Federal laws pertaining to firearm registration or magazine capacity could not be enforced either, under the measure. The bill created a carve-out if the federal law matched state law identically.

The measure would have also prohibited state or local money or resources from being used to confiscate guns or ammunition that is lawfully possessed.

A final section of the bill would have forced firearm manufacturers in the state to stamp “Made in Wisconsin,” or something similar, onto their products. The measure purported to help define the weapon as having been produced within the state to circumvent federal regulations covered under the interstate commerce clause.

The law would have mandated that the guns produced in Wisconsin that did not leave the state before being purchased and registered here would not be subject to the commerce clause and therefore immune to federal regulation enforced under the commerce clause. It additionally determined that the clause would not hold even if parts of the firearm were made in another state before finally assembly here.

The Amendments cited within the bill, defending its constitutionality, covered the right to bear arms (2nd), the idea that citizens have rights beyond those expressly enumerated by the Constitution (9th), and the Reserve Clause, claiming for the states or the people the powers not delegated to the federal government by nation’s founding documents.

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