For a far-right state senator who wants to bring down a suddenly unpopular Wyoming Republican congressman next year, sponsoring a bill called the Second Amendment Preservation Act probably seemed like a sure-fire way to vote.
Instead, Senator Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) looked stunned during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Senate File 81 – Second Amendment to the Preservation Act, as officials of law enforcement compared him to the GOP’s No.1 anti-gun villain, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“[SF 81] simply copied [President Joe Biden’s] administration and Nancy Pelosi’s effort to demonize law enforcement in the name of, in this case, the Second Amendment, ”said Byron Oedekoven, executive director of the Wyoming Sheriffs and Chiefs Association.
“I see the hypocrisy of this bill knows no bounds,” Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle said, “and frankly it’s a sad and sad day for law enforcement. in the state of Wyoming if this bill goes as it is. “
Ouch! What did Bouchard do to offend his law enforcement constituency?
His bill aims to send a message to Washington, DC, Bouchard said, that Wyoming will not support any new federal laws that put gun owners at risk of losing their constitutional rights.
Bouchard intends to travel to DC himself. He’s challenging Rep. Liz Cheney in next year’s Republican primary.
If a message was what the former director of Wyoming Gun Owners was looking for, it should have sponsored a joint resolution which, while not being a law, would have passed overwhelmingly and made voters stand by. feel good telling fictitious but infinitely politically useful gun looters that they shouldn’t have been kidding with Wyoming.
Instead, Bouchard went to Full Monty, sponsoring a bill that would make cops vulnerable to prosecution and possible termination of their employment by depriving them of so-called qualified immunity.
Bouchard’s first mistake was to state that the federal government does not have the constitutional right to enact “federal laws, decrees, court orders, rules, regulations, or other actions that collect data or restrict data. or prohibit the manufacture, possession and use of firearms, firearms. accessories or ammunition exclusively within the borders of Wyoming. “
Because he has such powers, of course. States cannot simply ignore federal laws, as several people reminded the Judicial Committee.
“Since the inception of this country, constitutional law has been very clear on this issue: no state has the right to override federal law,” said Linda Burt, former director of the Wyoming chapter of the ACLU. “The Supreme Court has struck down these laws on several occasions and will continue to do so. Jurisprudence is very strong from 1824. “
Lawmakers pushing SAPA laws here and in 14 other states know this. They don’t care. This is because their real goal is not the cancellation, it is to score political points. The fact that they are wasting people’s time and money – very real money when it comes to defending unconstitutional laws in court – is not of concern, as long as they manage to blow up the Biden administration and fight their chests by being champions of guns.
Polls show that nearly 90% of Americans support the kinds of extended background checks that the administration is calling for. But Bouchard and his ilk do not come forward to represent or defend traditional American values. They are running to win the Red State Republican primaries where extremism is the order of the day – the crazier the better.
“The general idea is that we have a change in Washington and they actually want to use whatever they can to attack our guns. … We have an out of control federal government, ”Bouchard said.
WASCOP officials said SF 81 places law enforcement officers in the untenable position of being prosecuted and / or fired for working on cases with federal law enforcement agencies.
The law could lead some gun owners to believe that federal laws do not apply to them, Senator Tara Nethercott (R-Cheyenne) said. Bouchard replied that his bill “is part of a push and shove, and [the feds are] will grow back and we’ll see where we are.
Essentially, Bouchard is prepared to expose residents to lawsuits to prove that the federal government has overstepped its bounds. Law-abiding citizens, he argued, have nothing to fear.
Burt cited an example which showed the folly of such laws. After Kansas passed its SAPA in 2013, she noted, a surplus military company relied on state law to manufacture and sell short-barreled rifles and silencers that violated the law. federal law.
The business owner and a client have both been convicted of a federal crime, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled not to hear their appeal in 2019.
Bouchard sponsored SF 81 to capitalize on the fears of gun owners. Instead, he had to swallow Grossnickle’s assertion: “With this legislation, Wyoming will become the little sister of some in Washington, DC, who believe that the abolition of qualified immunity, the demonization of the order and ultimately the defounding of the police is the answer to the problem. “
Imagine Bouchard, figuratively joined hip with the Black Lives Matter movement and other progressive protesters. It must have stung. The same goes for the Senate’s decision on Wednesday to dump his bill, which he ended up voting against.
Veteran Wyoming reporter Kerry Drake covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as reporter and editor of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and can be reached at [email protected]