Rep. Tommy Benton, R-Jefferson, said the state could choose to institute its own regulation of firearms for those that would not be covered under federal law, should his bill pass.
“Basically, the bill is saying the interstate-commerce clause (of the U.S. Constitution) doesn’t apply to these weapons,” he said.
The Constitution grants sole power to the federal government to oversee the sales of goods and services across state lines, known as interstate commerce. It was originally designed to prevent states from imposing tariffs on each other’s’ goods, but in the last 50 years, it has been used to control activities from racial segregation to health care.
Benton argues that as long as these weapons aren’t sold out of state, the federal rules should not apply to them.
In the aftermath of the shooting of 26 people at a school in Connecticut, President Barack Obama and others have called for greater controls on guns.
“I don’t agree with the rhetoric coming out of Washington that we need more gun laws,” Benton said.
His is one of several proposals pending in the Legislature that would relax gun controls. At the same time, there are alternative proposals that would toughen them.
None have been schedule for consideration in the committees they have been assigned to.