State Senator Kris Jordan recently introduced a bill (SB 36) that would make it a crime in Ohio for a police officer to enforce any new federal firearm registration law. Under the bill, any local, state or federal law enforcement agent found to be enforcing a federal law about gun registrations in Ohio would be guilty of a first degree felony, putting them in the same category as major drug traffickers and facing a prison sentence from three to eleven years.
You don’t need to be a constitutional scholar to know that a state can’t pass a law trumping federal law. But we reached out to an attorney who regularly deals with constitutional issues for a more official opinion:
Let me be blunt: this bill is a whole lot of constitutional-crazy. The proposed statute makes it a felony for a federal official to enforce a federal law in Ohio. In other words, an FBI Special Agent who sought to enforce a federal law could be hauled into state court and sent to a state prison. This plainly violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Simply put, federal laws over-ride contradictory state laws, and states are not permitted to take actions to thwart federal law. This is an effort at back-door nullification, a concept that has been uniformly rejected since before the Civil War.
It could be Jordan’s fearful view of government and law enforcement.
Cincinnati.com reports that Jordan spoke at a pro-gun rally this past weekend where he warned of a “police state” under a “tyrannical” government whose citizens are in “bondage”. He later told reporters that the government is “trampling upon our freedoms”.
Or it could be Jordan’s own gun-related run-in with the law.
In late 2011, Delaware County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Jordan’s home after a frantic 911 call from his wife claiming Kris was drinking, carrying a gun and “pushing her around”. Recordings from the scene indicate this was not the first time Jordan’s wife had been afraid of her husband’s “violent and physical” outbursts.
Jordan was investigated for domestic violence but no charges were filed. He later called Sheriff’s deputies at home and accused them of trying to ruin his career.
Jordan got lucky. Any normal schmo would have been in court. But Kris is a big-name Republican politician in Delaware County so the charges were magically dropped.
For Jordan, a conviction for domestic violence wouldn’t just have ruined his political career, it would also have prohibited him from possessing a firearm under federal law.
Based on Jordan’s fiery rhetoric at this weekend’s gun rally, it’s unclear which of these consequences would have disturbed him more.