A Louisiana bill that would have invalidated federal gun control laws on assault rifles has stalled out in the state senate. The bill may not have come up for vote, but that does not mean it is out of the running just yet.
Rep. Jim Morris (R), the bill’s sponsor, and other supporters of the bill feared they did not have enough votes to push the bill through the Senate. So, with only two days left in this legislative session, Morris shelved the bill.
The bill has faced harsh opposition. Sen. Rick Ward (D) cited bad timing for the bill.
"The main thing was that I didn't want to put the state in a position of having to defend something almost immediately after the session," Ward said.
In fact, the threat of impending litigation has given other legislators reason to fret over Morris' bill. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder threatened to fight any state laws that invalidates federal gun control laws, arguing that he needed to protect the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. Passing the bill would almost inevitably lead to pricey legal battles that the state of Louisiana cannot afford to fight.
Morris argued "nothing's unconstitutional until it's declared unconstitutional. I think we were doing exactly what the American people want. It's a shame."
Morris might have had the support of his constituents, but the question of whether Morris had the support of Americans at large and the U.S. Constitution is still a matter of debate.
More than likely, this is the end of Morris' pro-gun bill. There’s a chance that lawmakers will return to the bill with renewed vigor once they return to work, but Morris acknowledged that the bill is "probably dead as a doornail."
It is probably for the best. Considering Holder’s stance on these types of laws and the overwhelming tendency for courts to side with the federal government over Supremacy Clause issues, this bill probably would have done a better job draining Louisiana coffers than protecting gun rights.