Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states – with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.
The “nullification” trend in recent years has largely focused on three areas: gun control; health care; and national standards for driver’s licenses. It’s touched off fierce fights within the states, and between the states and the feds, as well as raising questions and court battles about whether any of it is legal.
In at least 37 states legislation has been introduced that in some way guts federal gun regulations, according to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The bills were signed into law this spring in two states, Kansas and Alaska, and in two more lawmakers hope to override a governor’s veto. Twenty states since 2010 have passed laws that either opt out of or challenge mandatory parts of Obamacare, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. And half the states have OK’d measures aimed knocking back the Real ID Act of 2005, which dictates Washington’s requirements for issuing driver’s licenses.
…In fact, the state-level anger at the nation’s capital has reached such a fever pitch that many of the bills do not even address specific federal laws, but rather amount to what is in effect “preemptive” nullification, wiping out, for instance, any federal law that may exist in the future that the states determine violates gun rights. The flurry of such efforts was spurred by fear on the part of states that in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that Congress would pass restrictive gun control legislation.
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