Arkansas State Rep. Bob Ballinger guns image

  • Kai Caddy
  • BALLINGER: Feds have no authority

In the race to file the most unconstitutional bill of the General Assembly that most were ready to concede to Sen. Jason Rapert, Rep. Bob Ballinger, Republican of Hindsville, has emerged as a late challenger. Last week, he filed “The Arkansas Second Amendment Liberties Safeguards Act,” which says the federal government essentially can’t regulate guns in Arkansas. Ballinger’s bill specifically addresses measures currently under consideration in Congress — restrictions on semiautomatic firearms and limits on magazine size — and one that’s not, but is frequently trotted out by the NRA — gun registration. The feds couldn’t impose any restrictions on semiautomatics or magazines or require registration under the bill. Moreover, they couldn’t impose any regulation on any gun or gun-related thing if the gun or gun-related thing was largely manufactured in Arkansas.


I called Ballinger last week in hopes of getting window into his legal theory. Alas, I didn’t hear back. But I did notice he was executive vice-president of the Federalist Society while in law school in Fayetteville. He told the Democrat-Gazette today (paywall) “We’re making a statement that any new federal regulations would be a violation of the Second Amendment and unenforceable.”

The Arkansas bit is clearly meant to address the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, but focusing on that and ignoring the Supremacy Clause, which says that, when in conflict, federal law trumps state law, is Federalist garbage. A constitutional law expert at the University of Arkansas called it “silly” in the D-G.


Brummett tweaks Ballinger this morning his column (paywall) for tweeting “Remember ‘The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.’- Thomas Jefferson.” Since there’s no indication Jefferson ever said anything of the sort. I notice today Ballinger tweeted, ‘ “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.’ -John F. Kennedy.” That’s a real quote. Kennedy used it in a speech in 1962 to ambassadors from Latin America. In context, Kennedy meant oligarchs and politicians couldn’t stand in the way of reform. But it works well as a paranoid, gun-obsessed, anti-gubmint rallying cry, too.