Utah law challenges federal authority over guns
Made-in-Utah, used-in-Utah guns are none of the federal government’s business, according to the state’s new “Utah State-Made Firearms Protection Act.” Gov. Gary Herbert signed the bill, he says, after weighing the constitutional aspects of the bill with its fiscal effects on Utah taxpayers.
The new law “provides that a firearm or one of various firearm-related items manufactured in the state for in-state use is not subject to federal firearms laws and regulations.” The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Margaret Dayton, is meant to challenge the U.S. Supreme Court’s “expansive interpretation of the federal Interstate Commerce Clause and assert Utah’s authority under the U.S. Constitution to regulate wholly intrastate commerce,” according to Herbert’s office. “There are times when the state needs to push back against continued encroachment from the federal government. Sending the message that we will stand up for a proper balance between the state and federal government is a good thing,” Herbert said in a statement. “As governor, I took an oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and the state of Utah. I take that responsibility seriously, as well as my obligation to act in a fiscally prudent manner.”
As part of his review process, the governor sought opinions and analysis from many legal experts, including Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. “I am satisfied that Utah can stand confidently with other states that are taking a stand against the federal government’s overreach in this area,” he said. “The Attorney General has assured me that, should a legal challenge be filed against the state, his office can take a variety of actions to ensure the defense of this legislation will have a minimal cost to the people of Utah.”