Weekly Political Roundup
4:54 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Michigan gun law trifecta

This week, host Jenn White takes a look at Michigan politics with Ken Sikkema, former Senate Majority Leader and senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants, and Susan Demas, political analyst for Michigan Information and Research Service.

Yesterday, a state senate panel sent three gun related bills to the senate floor. The first would prohibit federal regulation of firearms and ammunition manufactured in Michigan, while the second would exempt certain information about gun owners and their weapons from Freedom of Information requests. The third bill would make state laws regarding gun dealers consistent with federal regulations. 

Although Susan Demas is unsure as to how the bills, which supersede federal regulations would work, she does expect a backlash in court proceedings, if Governor Snyder signs these controversial bills.

"I'm sure we would see a court challenge if Governor Snyder were to receive these bills and sign them. The Senate today did pass the 'low-hanging fruit bill,' the one which seeks to alter language a little bit to keep us in line with the Fed. That's pretty uncontroversial. But this 'Firearms Freedom Act' as it's being called, that's very controversial," Demas said.

Former State Senate Majority Leader Ken Sikkema says that whether or not the attempt to pass these bills is an instance of political maneuvering in the face of federal gun control legislation, the bill cannot come to pass due to the Supremacy Clause in the United States' Constitution.

"Federal law supersedes all state and local laws. That's Article 6, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, and basically means that if Congress passes a law banning manufacture and sale of assault rifles, they're banned. Period. End of discussion. So I don't see a way that the 'Firearms Freedom Act' ever becomes a law," he said.

As for the purpose of the bills, Sikkema says they are most likely a blatant protest from gun owners about gun control legislation suggested by President Obama.

"I think President Obama has really tried to kind of set the table very quickly by announcing his support for more federal regulations of firearms," said Sikkema. "It's sort of a statement, if you will, on the part of many of these gun owners and the people that represent them, that they're against what the president wants to do."

--Austin Davis, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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