Could Rep. Toth’s ‘Firearms Protection Act’ Pass Constitutional Muster?

A Houston-area state representative wants to keep Texas from being subject to any new federal gun regulations. Republican Steve Toth of The Woodlands has filed the "Firearms Protection Act". House Bill 1076 would essentially prohibit the enforcement of rules on guns, gun magazines, or background checks that didn't exist at the start of the year.

Charles “Rocky” Rhodes is a professor at South Texas College of Law.  

The way he reads HB 1076, neither the state nor local jurisdictions could enforce or allow the enforcement of future federal gun laws. He says there is a Supreme Court precedent that gives states the ability to not enforce any particular federal law. 

“But what the state cannot do is interfere, in any way, with the feds’ ability to try to enforce those gun control measures in the state of Texas. And any attempt to do that would clearly violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.”

The Supremacy Clause, simply enough, says that federal law is the supreme law of the country. 

Professor Rhodes says Toth’s bill could become law, and avoid court challenges, if Congress fails to pass new gun laws.  Rhodes believes the measure is more in response to executive orders President Obama made after the Newtown school shooting.

“None of those are dealing with creating any new regulations or anything like that.  So there’s no conflict that I can see at the present time.”

Texas is one of more than a dozen states with bills to ignore or resist new federal gun laws.


David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

Hi there. I’m glad you found me. Let me take a moment to answer some of the questions you might have about me and my job. I have worked as Morning Edition Host and reporter at News 88.7 since August of 2009. Previously, I hosted Morning Edition at WMFE in...

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