NAPLES, Fla – The defiance against the gun control campaign continues. Over the past week, Marco Island and Collier County leaders have voted in favor of resolutions that support the right to bear arms, but those resolutions are not law.
Wednesday night, the SWFL Citizens Alliance hosted a town hall meeting on the second amendment in Naples.
It will ultimately be up to local lawmakers to declare any new federal laws restricting the right to bear arms, unconstitutional and the question is whether that declaration has any legal weight.
Roberty Levy, chairman of the CATO Institute in Naples, spoke to a roomful of people. “Are states required to enforce federal law or to enact a federal regulatory program directed by congress? The answer on both of those counts is no."
The CATO Institute is a public policy research organization based in Naples. Levy says that while the feds can’t make states enforce federal laws, states can’t stand in the way either unless a court declares in unconstitutional.
"An individual cannot be exempt from prosecution merely because they live in a state that declares the law unconstitutional," says Levy.
KrisAnne Hall, a constitutional attorney disagrees pointing to the framing of the constitution. “The 9th amendment says you absolutely have a right to protect your rights and if you have delegated that power to the states, you have the right, so it is in the constitution."
Keith Flaugh, a member of the Southwest Florida Citizens Alliance is spearheading the effort to get city and county leaders throughout Collier and Lee County to pass resolutions supporting second amendment rights. He is currently in talks with state lawmakers about passing a law, but the debate over who has the ultimate authority, will go on.
"This power belongs to us, this does not belong to you," says Hall.
“To suggest the states are the only authority simply means that 50 of them may get it wrong and that's a recipe for anarchy,” says Levy.
A perfect example of this debate is the ban on marijuana. Three states currently have laws legalizing marijuana, but feds are still allowed to go into those states and prosecute people under federal law.
Up next for the SWFL Citizens Alliance is the Naples City Council. They’re expected to take up the resolution next week.