Why Preemption is a Sacred Cow

Lower Chichester Township, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, not far from where I grew up, has just provided us with a fantastic example of why preemption is one of the fundamental principles that gun rights advocates won’t compromise on.  As soon as one town passes its own local gun rules, a dozen other towns with anti-gun politicians pile on.  Pretty soon you can’t travel the state to shoot, hunt, or keep or bear a firearm for self-protection without running the risk of unknowlingly becoming a criminal.

While the anti-gun folks keep telling us these local restrictions are reasonable, and that it will only limit itself to big cities with crime problems, experience suggests otherwise.  A patchwork of legal regulations makes gun ownership legally risky, and traveling to shoot or hunt nearly impossible without running afoul of one law or another, and that’s exactly the idea.

5 Responses to “Why Preemption is a Sacred Cow”

  1. Mike Gallo says:

    Yeah – check out [url=]this gem[/url] that I found in on the books in my town.

    This is in a VERY conservative blue-collar manufacturing town, that is a suburb of Milwaukee. The problem is that many of these laws have been on the books for over a hundred years in older parts of the country, and all you need is an anti-gun Sheriff or Police Chief to start enforcing them again. I mean, this is literally almost as blanket of a ban on posession as D.C.!!!!!!

  2. Or how about here. That blob on the map labeled State College is actually a pie made up of State College Borough and (parts of) five surrounding townships. If you’re not paying attention, you have no idea which township or borough you’re in here, and why should you? You can bet everything you own that if they could, State College Borough would pass strict gun control laws, and none of the surrounding townships would. Driving through town would be a legal nightmare.

  3. The same is true of Alabama, which technically, is a may-issue state.

  4. geekWithA.45 says:

    Part of the Federalism theory that I’m occasionally skeptical of is the notion that more power should be local, based on the idea that the locals have the best grip on local conditions and circumstances.

    What I’ve found as a matter of practice, however is that in an era of political helplessness and apathy, town governance is too easily swayed by surprisingly small groups of relentlessly vigorous busybodies. They can be defeated, but the magnitude of effort needed to do so is entirely unpredictable. Sometimes a phone call or two is enough, other times, you wind up having to do the whole organize-the-town thing.

    We have yet to devise a system of governance that is safe to ignore.


  5. Sebastian says:

    Power should be local, to the extent possible. The federal government has a role to play in protecting rights, even at the local level. To me, federalism was never about absolute local power, it’s about maintaining the proper balance between what is federal and what is local, according to the various constitutions that spell out what governments may do. A government that can be safely ignored is one that everyone agrees should be bound to honor it’s limits. The problem is, busybodies will tend to start pushing those limits when people stop looking too hard, especially if the busy bodies agree to hand out public money as favors in exchange for looking the other way. I’m not sure what the solution is either.