The Hypocrisy Of Preemption Opposition

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

There are a lot of people out there who are opposed to the preemption of gun laws in a state. They don’t like that local governments can’t infringe on our rights without going through the state legislature. In some states, they know that’s not going to happen, so they want the laws that keep local governments from doing so repealed.

Again, in some states, they know it’s not going to happen.

However, there’s a certain hypocrisy in the anti-preemption talk in Colorado, where Democrats are advancing legislation to get rid of the state’s preemption law.

Former state Senator Greg Brophy spoke with Ross Kaminsky about the bill on May 7 on Kaminsky’s 630KHOW radio program.

Brophy noted that the bill purports to support local control, but doesn’t believe that it reflects the true meaning of “local control,” which usually involves the right of local authorities to create more permissive regulations in matters of strictly local, not statewide interest. 

“Later on in the bill they say that local governments can only regulate firearms if they regulate them in a manner that’s more strict than what the state does,”  said Brophy.

Brophy continued, “This really does allow for the worst possible type of firearms laws that we can imagine.

Kevin Bommer, Executive Director of the Colorado Municipal League, a consortium of cities and towns, said the CML had not taken a position on the bill in an interview with Complete Colorado Tuesday.

Exactly.

See, preemption is all about local control…as long as you make it more strict. Those opposing the rules don’t want people being able to be less strict, only more so. They claim it’s really about local control, but what about a community that feels it needs less regulation than the state has in place?

Oh, well, that simply can’t be allowed.

It’s because they don’t care about local control in and of itself, they just want local governments to get more strict than their already anti-gun state.

It’s hypocrisy.

Now, some anti-gunners will try to claim that the right who claims to love federalism should oppose preemption too, but there’s a key difference. Preemption prevents governments from further infringements on our civil liberties. I’m just as opposed to local governments passing gun control rules as I am to them passing rules on what you can say, what the press can do, as well as where and how you can worship.

See? Consistency.

Meanwhile, anti-gunners oppose preemption not because they support local control but because they hope local governments will pass still more gun control than they can manage at a state level. If it was about local control, they’d be willing to at least accept some communities would feel like they need less gun control, not more. They don’t, though, and that’s the problem.

There are a lot of good arguments in favor of preemption, but the best argument is that it at least helps to preserve people’s civil liberties at the state level, even if the state is terrible about gun rights in general.

It’s that argument that infuriates anti-gunners and why they want preemption to go the way of the dodo. It’s also why it’s so damned important for gun rights.