CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Conservatives in two dozen state legislatures are pushing bills to declare federal gun controls "unenforceable" in their states -- and even require local police to arrest U.S. officials who try to enforce national safeguards. Most of the proposals specify felony sentences that theoretically could put U.S. judges, FBI agents and the like in state prisons.
That's the same bizarre bill introduced in the current West Virginia legislative session by Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, and 10 other House members as House Bill 2504. Obviously, it's part of a nationwide push by the fanatical gun lobby.
In Missouri, for example, right-wingers in a group called Missouri First back a bill to jail U.S. enforcers. A leader testified that Russia and China might have attacked America, but they didn't because they feared U.S. citizens with guns. He also testified that there are some in Washington "whose ultimate goal is to confiscate all weapons."
During a Missouri legislative hearing, Democratic Rep. Stephen Webber, who served two military tours in Iraq, refused to question the bill's backers.
"This bill is crazy, and you can't argue with crazy," he told the Columbia Missourian.
In Alaska, the House passed such a bill on a 31-5 vote and sent it to the Senate. Republican Gov. Sean Parnell says he supports the proposal -- but refused to answer when reporters asked if he would order Alaska police to arrest federal agents.
In Texas, Republican legislator Steve Toth said he introduced the jail-the-feds proposal because U.S. freedoms "are infringed by King Obama." In Ohio, Republican Sen. Kris Jordan said he did so because the "tyrannical" U.S. government puts citizens in "bondage."
In Montana, the House passed the same bill -- but the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association objected. Officer Perry Johnson said local police often work in teams with federal agents, and "if we seized someone during that enforcement action who had a high-capacity magazine and a semiautomatic weapon, we could be arrested [and] charged with a criminal act."
A separate Montana bill would legalize silencers -- another goal of gun kooks. Don't be surprised if conservative West Virginia legislators follow suit.
In his bill to jail U.S. officials, Delegate Skaff was joined by eight fellow Democratic sponsors and two Republicans, as follows: Troy Andes, R-Putnam; Jeff Eldridge, D-Lincoln; Ryan Ferns, D-Ohio; Michael Ferro, D-Marshall; Justin Marcum, D-Mingo; Joshua Nelson, R-Boone; Dave Pethtel, D-Wetzel; Linda Phillips, D-Wyoming; Rupert Phillips, D-Logan; and Harry White, D-Mingo.
Next time you see one of these legislators, ask if they really want to put federal judges and U.S. attorneys in state prison.