respond to their response
As we read, preemption happens when legislation at a higher level of government is used to overrule authority at a lower level. “States have imposed a wide array of mandates upon their local governments, which often reflect the need for minimum standards of services levels” (Stephens and Wikstrom, 2006). Unfortunately, the states do not always do what’s best for citizens; they do what they believe will aid the state, and often times it’s not the majority vote. A common source of preemption disputes is firearms regulations. State governments have overruled local governments’ gun laws and preemptively prohibited localities from enacting their own firearms regulations. Local gun ordinances have also been questioned in the courts under state law. These tensions have often drawn the attention of national organizations participating in the debate on weapons control, such as the Second Amendment Foundation and Mons Demand Action in America for Gun Sense (Ballotpedia, n.d.).
In 2019, Governor Northam of Virginia signed a revolutionary gun safety legislation into law, January 2020, under majority Democratic control. Northam stated, “things like universal background checks. They were getting rid of bump stocks, high volume magazines, red flag laws. These are commonsense pieces of legislation” (Ballotpedia, n.d.). Governor Northam signed five bills that require background checks on all firearm sales in Virginia, establish an extreme risk protective order, reinstate Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month rule, requires gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 48 hours, and prevents children from accessing firearms by increasing the penalty for recklessly leaving firearms in their presence. Northam also proposed amendments to two bills: allow localities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events and the second prohibiting individuals subject to protective orders from possessing firearms, require them to turn over their firearms within 24 hours and certify to the court that they have turned over their weapons (Virginia Govenor, 2020). In response to this, local governments responded by passing resolutions designed to prevent law enforcement agencies within their jurisdictions from enforcing state gun laws the localities considered unconstitutional. Mid-year 2020, over 90% of the counties within Virginia, along with 56 cities and towns, passed resolutions refusing to enforce state gun laws. In late 2020, Virginia’s attorney general Mark Herring responded to the solutions by stating that they had no legal force. He also said, “ when the General Assembly passes new gun safety laws, they will be enforced, and they will be followed” (Ballotpedia, n.d.).
Truth be told, in order to spearhead change that is supported by a significant or majority of the population should have no limits; however, the federal government does not always have the citizen’s best interest in mind. This is why we have the twelfth Amendment, which I spoke about last week. Local and state governments are more involved with the citizens, and in my opinion, should have the majority rule when it comes to change. We are not getting to vote on certain things like same-sex marriage, civil rights movement, so how can it be said that it is the majority? Where are the numbers coming from? Yes, our elected representatives who are supposed to have our best interests are the voters, but the truth is, they’re shady, and there are so many backroom deals that occur for things to be passed. Its quid-pro-quo, you do this for me, and I’ll help you get this done. The majority of the time, it is the minority vote that the government goes after, not the majority.
Firearms, preemption conflicts between state and local governments. (2020). Retrieved from Ballotpedia