Updated: January 24, 2013 10:36PM
BROOKVILLE (AP) — A Franklin County commission has passed an ordinance meant to exempt the county from federal gun control laws — a move that experts say is likely to fail and that comes amid renewed debate about whether the nation’s gun laws are sufficient.
The ordinance that the Franklin County commission passed unanimously Tuesday says the county doesn’t recognize any past, present or future federal law that violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution. The statute doesn’t specify what federal restrictions on gun ownership, if any, would be acceptable.
County Commissioner Tom Wilson admitted that the ordinance might not hold water.
“I don’t really know how much teeth it has or anything,” Wilson told the Connersville News-Examiner. “But I think it’s time to express our feelings. ... It has to do with our Second Amendment, guns, gun control and infringement on our right to keep and bear arms.”
Franklin County may be the first in Indiana to pass such an ordinance, said Stephanie Yager, executive director of the Indiana Association of County Commissioners. She said she isn’t aware of any other local government adopting an act stating it will not recognize federal laws on gun control.
Similar legislation has been introduced in several other states, however, including Texas, Missouri, Utah, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Kentucky, Alaska and Virginia.
In Indiana, state Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, introduced a bill to the General Assembly that asks the state to void any federal actions or statutes that the Legislature finds “inconsistent” with the U.S. Constitution. The bill primarily pertains to the federal health care overhaul, but could also be applied to gun control laws.
“The Legislature can pass anything it wants,” Sam Kamin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Denver, told the AP earlier this month. “The Supremacy Clause of the Constitution makes that clearly unconstitutional. Where there’s a conflict between state and federal law, the federal government is supreme.”
President Barack Obama recently issued 23 executive orders on gun control, but those only apply to the federal government, not local or state law enforcement.
Obama has asked Congress to pass measures requiring background checks for all gun buyers and banning new assault weapons following the December attack on a Connecticut elementary school in which a gunman killed 20 students and several faculty members.