Tag Archives: Texas

Gun regulation: pinning States against Federal Government

I came across this very interesting piece of news.  Mississippi and Texas proposed and called for bills to make it illegal to enforce any of the new federal gun control measures.

Mississippi Governor Bryant called for a bill that would make it illegal for state and local enforcement to enforce any executive order from the President.  Similarly, in Texas, State Representative Toth introduced the “Firearms Protection Act.”  The bill would make “any federal law banning semi-automatic firearms or limiting the size of gun magazines unenforceable within the state’s boundaries” and “anyone trying to enforce a federal gun ban could face felony charges under the proposal.”

The question is, of course, how would a federal statute or executive decision interact with the Second Amendment to the Constitution.  The second amendment provides,

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.

The Supreme Court’s most indicative decisions call for an interesting debate.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the government can enforce several restrictions on the right to bear arms.  Presser v. Illinois, 116 US 252 (1886) (upholding the state’s or Congress’s regulation of militias); Miller v. Texas, 135 US 535 (1894) (upholding the state’s ability to press criminal charges for owning an unlicensed gun);  Robertson v. Baldwin, 165 US 275 (1897) (upholding state’s regulation of concealed weapons); and United States v. Miller, 307 US 174 (1939) (upholding the National Firearms Act which banned the interstate transportation of unregistered Title II weapons).

This, however, does not mean that we would know to what extent a regulation would be constitutional.

via State Lawmakers Say No to President Obamas Gun Control Proposal – ABC News.

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Filed under civil rights, Pending Legislation

Texas election day and arresting OSCE for supervision

The Texas attorney general warned the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe that its election observers could be arrested and criminally charged if they come within 100 feet of a polling place on Election Day.

In a Tuesday letter to the OSCE, Attorney General Greg Abbott said the observers have no jurisdiction in Texas.

“While it remains unclear exactly what your monitoring is intended to achieve, or precisely what tactics you will use to achieve the proposed monitoring, OSCE has stated publicly that it will visit polling stations on Election Day as part of its monitoring plan,” Abbott wrote.

“In April, you reportedly met with a group of organizations that have filed lawsuits challenging election integrity laws enacted by the Texas Legislature. One of those organizations, Project Vote, is closely affiliated with ACORN, which collapsed in disgrace after its role in a widespread voter-registration fraud scheme was uncovered.”

Abbott said OSCE has called voter-identification laws a barrier to the right to vote.

A federal appeals court in August court struck down Texas’ voter identification law, saying it disenfranchises minorities and the poor.

The law, enacted by the Republican-dominated Legislature in 2011, required Texas voters to provide with photo identification, which was limited to a driver’s license, personal identification card or concealed handgun license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, a U.S. passport, a U.S. military ID or a U.S. citizenship certificate.

Abbott, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Legislature claims the law was needed to prevent voter fraud.

Abbott wrote to the OSCE: “The OSCE may be entitled to its opinions about Voter ID laws, but your opinion is legally irrelevant in the United States, where the Supreme Court has already determined that Voter ID laws are constitutional. If OSCE members want to learn more about our election processes so they can improve their own democratic systems, we welcome the opportunity to discuss the measures Texas has implemented to protect the integrity of elections. However, groups and individuals from outside the United States are not allowed to influence or interfere with the election process in Texas.”

Abbott’s letter concludes: “It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”

The OSCE, based in Vienna, Austria, is a multinational group with particular interest in arms control, border management, human trafficking, elections and education, according to its website.

via Courthouse News Service.

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