Texas State Rep. Steve Toth (R-TX), with the apparent support of at least one of Texas’ most powerful politicians, will introduce unconstitutional legislation subjecting federal law enforcement officers to arrest and prosecution if they enforce new gun safety laws in the Lone Star State:
A Texas lawmaker says he plans to file the Firearms Protection Act, which would make any federal laws that may be passed by Congress or imposed by Presidential order which would ban or restrict ownership of semi-automatic firearms or limit the size of gun magazines illegal in the state, 1200 WOAI news reports. Republican Rep. Steve Toth says his measure also calls for felony criminal charges to be filed against any federal official who tries to enforce the rule in the state. “If a federal official comes into the state of Texas to enforce the federal executive order, that person is subject to criminal prosecution,” Toth told 1200 WOAI’s Joe Pags Tuesday. He says his bill would make attempting to enforce a federal gun ban in Texas punishable by a $50,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Toth’s bill is wildly unconstitutional. The Constitution provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land” — a provision known as the “Supremacy Clause” — and thus states are powerless to nullify laws their lawmakers don’t feel like complying with or to arrest federal officials for carrying out their lawful duties. This Clause applies both to valid Acts of Congress themselves and to properly authorized executive orders, as the President’s power to issue an executive order generally flows from an Act of Congress.
Strangely, Toth does not appear to question that his bill is unconstitutional. Rather, he told The Chad Hasty Show on Monday that his goal is to undermine the Constitution itself. In Toth’s words, “we want to do everything we can, especially as pertains to the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause gives the federal government — it basically trumps state law — which is wrong. And we want to do everything we can to undermine that.”