The US state of Alabama has joined Missouri and Kansas in enacting legislation that effectively outlaws US federal gun laws that run contrary to the 2nd Amendment.
The decision upon whether federal laws broke citizens’ right to bear arms would be up to the Alabama attorney-general.
However, some legal experts point out that state law cannot override federal law under the US Constitution.
The laws in each of the three states are slightly different, and Missouri is the only one that imposes criminal penalties on federal agents who try to enforce nullified federal laws.
Mississippi, Texas and Virginia have also considered similar laws, while Wyoming dropped them after being the first state to enact them.
Arizona has just passed legislation forcing authorities to sell guns handed in or confiscated, rather than destroy them.
While this law has invoked ire from anti-gunners, who say guns are being protected from people rather than the other way around, legislators say it more about generating revenue than gun-control issues.
Meanwhile, even Hollywood is fighting against New York’s strict new gun laws on the grounds they will prevent movies and TV shows being made. New York has banned high-capacity magazines and the kind of semi-automatic rifles popularly dubbed ‘assault weapons’.
“Weapons are part of our history as a culture as humans,” one theatrical supplier told the New York Times. “To tell stories, you need them.”
The NYT also reported that Hollywood representatives were angry about apparently being penalised under laws aimed at the criminal mis-use of firearms.
While indications suggest the US population is generally not in favour of gun bans, the stance by many US legislators against compulsory and universal background checks of potential gun buyers may be doing them some harm.
Background checks are intended to keep firearm out of the hands of people with criminal records or other history that marks them as not to be trusted with a gun, and their expansion to all purchases is one of President Obama’s key reforms.
One poll shows support for two Alaskan senators has dropped noticeably after they voted against background checks. The poll also found 72% of respondents supported background checks.
Colorado has now introduced legislation requiring background checks, as well as banning high-capacity magazines, and it is seen as one of the more successful states by gun-control advocates.
Along with New York, Maryland has also enacted tighter gun control, outlawing 45 specific ‘assault weapons’, plus high-capacity magazines, as well as introducing gun licences and compulsory fingerprinting of gun owners.
New Jersey also intends to introduce tighter laws and bans on semi-auto rifles, which is significant in that the state is a Republican one, while the other pro-control states are held by Democrats.
Gun control proponents are becoming optimistic despite the moves of states like Alabama, pointing out that there is a general shift in politics towards gun control, even if at this stage it is more about the debate than new laws.
The National Rifle Association is keeping up its staunch opposition to any tightening of gun laws as it resists what it considers to be the gradual erosion of gun rights.