Category Archives: Federal Government

South Dakota Exempts it’s Residents from Federal Firearms Laws

REBELLION IN AMERICA

5th state exempts guns. Is Washington noticing?

‘I think they’re going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out case’

Posted: March 15, 2010

9:11 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

A fifth state – South Dakota – has decided that guns made, sold and used within its borders no longer are subject to the whims of the federal government through its rule-making arm in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and two supporters of the growing groundswell say they hope Washington soon will be taking note.

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has signed into law his state’s version of a Firearms Freedom Act that first was launched in Montana. It already is law there, in Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, which took the unusual step of specifying criminal penalties – including both fines and jail time – for federal agents attempting to enforce a federal law on a “personal firearm” in the Cowboy State.

According to a report in the Dakota Voice, the new South Dakota law addresses the “rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades.”

“As the federal government has radically overstepped is constitutional limitations in the past year or so, an explosion of states have begun reasserting their rights not only with regard to firearms, but also in shielding themselves against government health care, cap-and-trade global-warming taxes, and more,” the report said.

South Dakota’s law specifically notes “any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in South Dakota and that remains within the borders of South Dakota is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.”

The provisions are nearly a mirror of the original law penned in Montana as well as those adopted in subsequent decisions by Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association spearheaded the Montana law and now describes himself as a sort of “godfather” to the national campaign.

He told WND the issue is not only about guns but about states’ rights and the constant overreaching by federal agencies and Washington to impose their requirements on in-state activities.

He said he’s pleased South Dakota has become No. 5, and noted Alaska, Idaho and Oklahoma all have legislation that is approaching the stage of being presented to a governor to be made into law.

The Firearms Freedom Act website also reveals that other states with either pending legislation or pending plans include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Marbut said Washington appears to be reacting the same way it did when states legalized marijuana or rejected the REAL ID national plan: by ignoring it.

“Ultimately we hope there will be lawsuits in other federal circuits, because there are two things that predispose the U.S. Supreme Court to take a case: the national scope of the issue and differing appellate decisions,” he told WND.

Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center said Washington likely is not anxious for a confrontation.

“I think they’re going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out the case,” he said today.

“When they really start paying attention is when people actually start following the [state] firearms laws,” he said.

WND reported earlier when Wyoming joined the states with self-declared exemptions from federal gun regulation.

But when Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal signed his state’s bill into law, it included penalties for any agent of the U.S. who “enforces or attempts to enforce” federal gun rules on a “personal firearm” in Wyoming including up to two years in prison and up to $2,000 in fines.

The bellwether likely is to be a lawsuit pending over the Montana law, which was the first to go into effect.

As WND reported, the action was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and the Montana Shooting Sports Association in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Mont., to validate the principles and terms of the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which took effect Oct. 3, 2009.

Marbut argues that the federal government was created by the states to serve the states and the people, and it is time for the states to begin drawing boundaries for the federal government and its agencies.

The government’s filing in the case demands its dismissal, citing a lacking of “standing” for the plaintiffs and the court’s lack of “jurisdiction,” as well as the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. The government filing argues, “The Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit have repeatedly held that even purely intrastate activities, such as those the MFFA purports to exempt from federal law, do affect interstate commerce and thus are within Congress’ power to regulate. As a result, even if plaintiffs had standing and jurisdiction existed, plaintiffs’ amended complaint fails to state a claim and must be dismissed.”

The Commerce Clause, however, can be interpreted to have been amended by the 10th Amendment, which is part of the Bill of Rights, adopted subsequent to the U.S. Constitution, Marbut explains.

His organization said, “The Commerce Clause was amended – by the 10th Amendment. It is a bedrock principle of jurisprudence that for any conflict between provisions of a coequal body of law, the most recently enacted must be given deference as the most recent expression of the enacting authority. This principle is ancient. Without this principle, laws could not be amended or repealed.”

For example, U.S. courts repeatedly affirmed slavery before it ultimately was rejected.

There’s no question that the components of the Bill of Rights have authority: just look at the First Amendment, Marbut explained.

In an analysis by the Tenth Amendment Center, the gun laws were described as a nullification.

“Laws of the federal government are to be supreme in all matters pursuant to the delegated powers of U.S. Constitution. When D.C. enacts laws outside those powers, state laws trump. And, as Thomas Jefferson would say, when the federal government assumes powers not delegated to it, those acts are ‘unauthoritative, void, and of no force’ from the outset,” Boldin wrote.

“When a state ‘nullifies’ a federal law, it is proclaiming that the law in question is void and inoperative, or ‘noneffective,’ within the boundaries of that state; or, in other words, not a law as far as the state is concerned. Implied in such legislation is that the state apparatus will enforce the act against all violations – in order to protect the liberty of the state’s citizens,” he continued.

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The Beginning of the End for Social Security: How ‘Secure’ Are We?

Social Security to start cashing Uncle Sam’s IOUs

AP – FILE – In this Feb. 23, 2005 file photo, Susan Chapman, director of the Division of Federal Investments, …

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer – Mon Mar 15, 7:57 am ET

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. – The retirement nest egg of an entire generation is stashed away in this small town along the Ohio River: $2.5 trillion in IOUs from the federal government, payable to the Social Security Administration.

It’s time to start cashing them in.

For more than two decades, Social Security collected more money in payroll taxes than it paid out in benefits — billions more each year.

Not anymore. This year, for the first time since the 1980s, when Congress last overhauled Social Security, the retirement program is projected to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes — nearly $29 billion more.

Sounds like a good time to start tapping the nest egg. Too bad the federal government already spent that money over the years on other programs, preferring to borrow from Social Security rather than foreign creditors. In return, the Treasury Department issued a stack of IOUs — in the form of Treasury bonds — which are kept in a nondescript office building just down the street from Parkersburg’s municipal offices.

Now the government will have to borrow even more money, much of it abroad, to start paying back the IOUs, and the timing couldn’t be worse. The government is projected to post a record $1.5 trillion budget deficit this year, followed by trillion dollar deficits for years to come.

Social Security’s shortfall will not affect current benefits. As long as the IOUs last, benefits will keep flowing. But experts say it is a warning sign that the program’s finances are deteriorating. Social Security is projected to drain its trust funds by 2037 unless Congress acts, and there’s concern that the looming crisis will lead to reduced benefits.

“This is not just a wake-up call, this is it. We’re here,” said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst with The Senior Citizens League, an advocacy group. “We are not going to be able to put it off any more.”

For more than two decades, regardless of which political party was in power, Congress has been accused of raiding the Social Security trust funds to pay for other programs, masking the size of the budget deficit.

Remember Al Gore’s “lockbox,” the one he was going to use to protect Social Security? The former vice president talked about it so much during the 2000 presidential campaign that he was parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”

Gore lost the election and never got his lockbox. But to illustrate the government’s commitment to repaying Social Security, the Treasury Department has been issuing special bonds that earn interest for the retirement program. The bonds are unique because they are actually printed on paper, while other government bonds exist only in electronic form.

They are stored in a three-ring binder, locked in the bottom drawer of a white metal filing cabinet in the Parkersburg offices of Bureau of Public Debt. The agency, which is part of the Treasury Department, opened offices in Parkersburg in the 1950s as part of a plan to locate important government functions away from Washington, D.C., in case of an attack during the Cold War.

One bond is worth a little more than $15.1 billion and another is valued at just under $10.7 billion. In all, the agency has about $2.5 trillion in bonds, all backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. But don’t bother trying to steal them; they’re nonnegotiable, which means they are worthless on the open market.

More than 52 million people receive old age or disability benefits from Social Security. The average benefit for retirees is a little under $1,200 a month. Disabled workers get an average of $1,100 a month.

Social Security is financed by payroll taxes — employers and employees must each pay a 6.2 percent tax on workers’ earnings up to $106,800. Retirees can start getting early, reduced benefits at age 62. They get full benefits if they wait until they turn 66. Those born after 1960 will have to wait until they turn 67.

Social Security’s financial problems have been looming for years as the nation’s 78 million baby boomers approached retirement age. The oldest are already there. As that huge group of people starts collecting benefits — and stops paying payroll taxes — Social Security’s trust funds will shrink, running out of money by 2037, according to the latest projection from the trustees who oversee the program.

The recession is making things worse, at least in the short term. Tax receipts are down from the loss of more than 8 million jobs, and applications for early retirement benefits have spiked from older workers who were laid off and forced to retire.

Stephen C. Goss, chief actuary for the Social Security Administration, says the crisis has been years in the making. “If this helps get people to look more seriously at that in the nearer term, that’s probably a good thing. But it’s only really a punctuation mark on the fact that we have longer-term financial issues that need to be addressed.”

In the short term, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that Social Security will continue to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes for the next three years. It is projected to post small surpluses of $6 billion each in 2014 and 2015, before returning to indefinite deficits in 2016.

For the budget year that ends in September, Social Security is projected to collect $677 million in taxes and spend $706 million on benefits and expenses.

Social Security will also collect about $120 billion in interest on the trust funds, according to the CBO projections, meaning its overall balance sheet will continue to grow. The interest, however, is paid by the government, adding even more to the budget deficit.