Home > 2013 SD Legislative Session, Federal Power, Gun rights, Legal > South Dakota had a chance to pass nullification of unconstitutional gun control Executive Orders

South Dakota had a chance to pass nullification of unconstitutional gun control Executive Orders

May 14, 2013


Updated: Read Rep Nelson’s remarks in the comments. I missed the fact he went before the house and tried to smoke the bill out. It failed.

Earlier today I blogged about nullification gaining mainstream support. As I look back at the 2013 South Dakota Legislative Session I see an example of an attempted nullification law: House Bill 1222. The description of this bill is:

provide that any federal law that attempts to ban firearms, to limit the size of firearm magazines, or to impose other limitations on firearms is unenforceable in South Dakota, to provide a penalty, and to declare an emergency.

On February 13 Representative Nelson went before the State Affairs committee to submit an amendment and speak about this bill. The amendment (which is not listed on the bill’s website) would have changed this bill to apply only in cases of Presidential Executive Orders. This is because most of this bill already exists in South Dakota Codified Law and this new bill was meant to expand the current law so they apply to executive orders. As Rep. Nelson stated during his testimony, Executive Orders have been used extensively during the last fifty to sixty years as a way for Presidents to get around constitutional limits. Bills such as this are a way for states to tell the President that such behavior is not OK.

I personally like one part of the original bill and think it should have been passed by itself: “The attorney general may defend a citizen of South Dakota who is prosecuted by the United States government for violation of a federal law relating to the manufacture, sale, transfer, or possession of a firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition owned or manufactured and retained exclusively within the borders of South Dakota.”

Ironically the Governors Office sent someone to testify against this bill. This goes back to a post I created a few months ago: South Dakota Governor Daugaard and US President Obama Agree: Balance of Power is Annoying. It’s also ironic that the opposition highlighted the fact the attorney general would be required to uphold the law? Isn’t that the job of the attorney generals office? Do we really want an attorney general’s office that does not wish to protect the rights of South Dakota citizens in court?

Unfortunately this bill was killed in committee by deferring it to the 41st legislative day. I think this issue deserved debate before the whole house, and not just within the State Affairs Committee. Perhaps we will see another attempt of this sort in the 2014 legislative session. It will be interesting to see a nullification law pass directed specifically at executive orders.

  1. May 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Actually, Ken, I did not surrender after the State Affairs Committee killed the bill. I attempted to smoke it out and offered the amended form to everyone in the House. So every Representative did have an opportunity to support the bill. There was extensive & spirited discussion on the motion/bill which can be found at 11:15: http://sdpb.sd.gov/SDPBPodcast/2013/hou23.mp3

    Of note, legislators with an “A+” Endorsement from the NRA helped kill the bill originally and in the smoke-out effort. Those who voted to support the bill being smoked out voted (Yeah) those who supported allowing the bill to die voted (Nay):

    (From the House Journal February 14, 2014):
    “Rep. Nelson moved that the Committee on State Affairs be instructed to deliver HB 1222 to the floor of the House, pursuant to Joint Rule 7-7.

    A roll call vote was requested and supported.

    The question being on Rep. Nelson’s motion that the Committee on State Affairs be instructed to deliver HB 1222 to the floor of the House, pursuant to Joint Rule 7-7.

    And the roll being called:

    Yeas 23, Nays 45, Excused 2, Absent 0

    Campbell; Craig; Ecklund; Greenfield; Haggar (Jenna); Hickey; Kaiser; Kopp; Latterell; May; Nelson; Olson (Betty); Peterson; Qualm; Rasmussen; Russell; Schoenfish; Soli; Stalzer; Steele; Tyler; Verchio; Wick

    Bartling; Bolin; Cammack; Carson; Conzet; Cronin; Dryden; Duvall; Erickson; Feickert; Gibson; Haggar (Don); Hajek; Hansen; Hawks; Hawley; Heinemann (Leslie); Heinert; Hoffman; Hunhoff (Bernie); Johns; Killer; Kirschman; Lust; Magstadt; Mickelson; Munsterman; Novstrup (David); Otten (Herman); Parsley; Ring; Romkema; Rounds; Rozum; Schaefer; Schrempp; Sly; Solum; Stevens; Tulson; Werner; Westra; Wink; Wismer; Speaker Gosch

    Feinstein; Miller

    So the motion not having received an affirmative vote of a one-third majority of the members-elect, the Speaker declared the motion lost.”

  2. Ken Santema
    May 14, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I completely missed the fact you tried to smoke this out (that’s the problem, the SD legislative session coincides with my busy time of the year).

    This was crazy to listen to. How the heck do you do a smokeout without “mentioning the merits of a bill”? I can understand keeping it brief. But not being able to mention the merits at all?

    It appears from my perspective that this bill was being kept from an actual debate or vote so certain reps wouldn’t have to go on record voting against it.

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