Preemption, the idea that gun laws should come exclusively from the state, is an important tool in the defense of the Second Amendment. In theory, it means that localities can’t create a patchwork of gun laws that are virtually impossible for a single person to navigate. Even an attorney would be unable to tell which lines you couldn’t cross without becoming a criminal.
Meanwhile, though, preemption has been under assault. Perhaps most famously from Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and his assault weapon ban despite Pennsylvania’s preemption law.
Other states, however, aren’t interested in playing that game. Mississippi, in particular, has decided to strengthen its preemption law.
On Tuesday, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed House Bill 1215 by Rep. Shane Barnett (R-Greene, Perry & Wayne Cos). The House approved this positive change to the state firearms preemption statute by a vote of 81-36. The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.
Basically, HB 1215 makes it so state agencies can’t create their own firearm rules. While this isn’t a huge step, it is an important one. The last thing someone needs is to enter a state agency’s office with a lawfully-carried firearm, only to find out that the moment they crossed the office’s threshold, they were no longer lawfully carrying.
That’s a bad thing and we all know it. Even anti-gunners, if they were to be intellectually honest, would see it as a bad thing. Luckily for them, intellectual honesty isn’t exactly their strong point.
Now, should this law even be needed? Not really. Agencies should already know they’re not allowed to create law with the stroke of a pen, even within their own halls. That’s not how laws work.
Unfortunately, too many agencies already do. Further, people are used to that.
Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is really beyond the scope of what we do here, but we can say that no agency should be able to say jack squat about firearms. Among the ramifications of this are state agencies not being able to deny services to people who have firearms, something we can easily see happening in various anti-gun states.
Now, the bill goes to the Mississippi Senate for consideration, which hopefully passes without much controversy.
Frankly, the people of Mississippi deserve it. No one should have to worry about whether they’ll be breaking the law simply because some bureaucrat decided they didn’t like guns and doesn’t want them around. That’s why we have a legislative process, after all. It’s to prevent tin-pot dictators from taking power and infringing on the rights of good, honest people.
That’s precisely what happens when agencies decide they can create laws about guns at any level.
Good on Mississippi for taking a step toward preventing that kind of trainwreck from happening. It’s beyond time for states to take similar steps to prevent bureaucrats from trampling on the right to keep and bear arms. Mississippi is doing this now, but a whole lot of other states need to follow their lead on this.