In a rare show of political spine, Governor Snyder admonished lawmakers to pull their collective heads out of their asses (my words — he was much more statesman like), and stop wasting time on gun laws, particularly those that won’t stand-up to a constitutional challenge.
Catering to a fringe demographic, conservative legislators are putting the constitution to a good old-fashioned witch drowning — trial by ordeal — with Senate Bill 63. A proposed law that would exempt weapons manufactured in Michigan from federal gun regulations, and which lawmakers readily admit is unconstitutional. The “logic” behind the potential law goes likes this:
Lawmakers love their constitution so much (particularly the second amendment), that they are willing to violate it to protect it — a legislative honor killing meant to preserve the virtue of our foundational document.
Snyder’s warning to lawmakers is likely intended to give them a political “out” with the NRA. A lawmaker need only introduce or vote on legislation to get their A+ rating, and save their political hides. When the governor vetoed the guns-in-schools law last month, the legislators still received their extra credit points from the powerful gun lobby.
Michigan has the third largest number of licensed hunters in the nation — 750,000, who contribute $1.3 billion to the economy and generate $153 million in state revenues, but it is safe to say that the bulk of them are not interested in extreme legislation in the name of gun rights. A December 2012 Pew Research national poll indicates that 49 percent favor enhanced gun regulations, to 42 percent that want more second amendment protections.
We can only hope that Snyder has the good sense to similarly jettison SB 63. Michigan doesn’t need to waste taxpayer dollars on a constitutional showdown when we’ve got roads and schools to fix.
Amy Kerr Hardin This article also appears in Voters Legislative Transparency Project