When You Don't Get 'States Rights' or Second Amendment

AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File

While we talk a lot about infringements to the Second Amendment, absolutely no part of the Bill of Rights has been so ignored as the Tenth Amendment. This is the amendment from which the term “states rights” comes from.


And, to be fair, states rights is a big thing these days. Just look at what’s going on at the Texas border as a prime illustration of just that.

But apparently, some really don’t understand that those states rights might actually be.

In the finest tradition of totalitarian dictatorship, Grisham declared an “emergency” in New Mexico, which she then used as the excuse for issuing a dictatorial order banning guns in public places.

No, she did not go to the legislature to get a law enacted that implemented her gun-control scheme. Instead, she just issued an “emergency” edict that implemented her gun-control scheme.

Thus, a federal judge named Kea Riggs, enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment, put the quietus to Grisham’s dictatorial action by enjoining the enforcement of her dictatorial gun-control decree.

But interestingly enough, from what I can tell, not one single rightwing supporter of “states rights” and “state sovereignty” has come to Grisham’s defense and criticized and condemned Federal Judge Riggs for interfering with Grisham’s dictatorial gun-control decree.

Why this rightwing silence on what is clearly a federal violation of the concept of “states rights and “state sovereignty”?

Because states rights are irrelevant to the discussion.

The Tenth Amendment, which lays the groundwork for states rights discussions, read:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


Now, the reason no one batted an eye over the judicial smackdown in New Mexico is because the Second Amendment preserves the right to keep and bear arms explicitly, thus prohibiting gun control by the states.

As a result, states don’t have a right to pass gun control just like they don’t have a right to limit free speech or the worship of religion. In any of those other cases, a federal court stepping in to stop a right explicitly protected by the Constitution is perfectly just and right, even if you’re a firm believer in states rights.

While states have the right to do all sorts of other things, that’s not one of them.

What bugs me is that this post came from a libertarian website. It’s clear from the author’s words he didn’t approve of what Lujan Grisham did in New Mexico, that he doesn’t approve of infringements on the Second Amendment.

But he clearly didn’t bother to even try to understand the difference here.

If a state decides it wants a speed limit of 95 miles per hour on state highways, the states rights argument is that the federal government has no say in the matter. After all, there is nothing in the Constitution that says the feds have any control over state roads.

But the Constitution is pretty clear on the matter of gun control, even if a lot of anti-gunners refuse to see it.

This idea that the courts smacking down a governor’s unilateral decree prohibiting guns is contrary to the concept of states rights might well be the dumbest argument I’ve ever seen, and it didn’t come from an obvious anti-gunner.


Or was this a feeble attempt at a right-wing gotcha?

I’m a libertarian. I don’t consider myself right- or left-wing, so I have no dog in this particular fight. However, the only way this makes sense is if you’re desperately trying to hit the right on something, particularly the states rights argument, and you can’t come up with literally anything better.

So, the Second Amendment gets targeted.

Of course, when anti-gunners start trying to use this same argument to defend gun control, I’m curious how the author will feel then.

Not that it will matter because, as I said, the Second Amendment explicitly limits what states can do by the only method states rights supporters will concede they can be.

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