States' rights: Use them or lose them
By Trent Loos
There has never been a time when it has been more important than now to be proud and wave the flag of your home state. Our friends in the Southern tier have been shouting this for 160 years, but finally the rest of the nation is beginning to get it. States’ rights are a huge deal and we have been giving them away without thinking about the consequences.
I rarely like to give Kyle Bauer, my radio partner on Rural Route Radio, any credit but this time I have to give him major kudos. While Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is the one who made it happen, Kyle told me about it.
I am curious to see how many of you are like me and could not begin to tell anybody what the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is. Everybody knows the First Amendment and most likely you’ve been overwhelmed with media attention to the Second Amendment, but what about the 10th?
So here it is: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Direct and concise, lacking a bunch of lawyer-influenced language that makes it a bunch of mumbo jumbo, this amendment clearly says that we, as states united, have been giving power to the federal government for no good reason at all.
When speaking of the 10th Amendment, James Madison, “the father of the Constitution,” explained it this way: “The powers delegated to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the state governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, (such) as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people.”
In the past couple of weeks, it has been actions within the state government of Kansas that have once again brought the issue back into the spotlight.
Brownback signed the Second Amendment Protection Act, nullifying a wide range of federal attacks on the right to keep and bear arms in Kansas.
Language in the law states: “Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas.”
The new law also makes it illegal for any federal agent to enforce any law, treaty, order, rule or regulation regarding firearms manufactured, owned and remaining within Kansas’ borders. Violators could face felony charges. State prosecutors will serve federal agents who have violated the law with a complaint and a summons.
As you may have heard, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder immediately wrote a letter to Brownback telling him that Kansas can’t do that. The governor, not intimidated by Holder’s threat, responded by saying, “The people of Kansas have repeatedly and overwhelmingly reaffirmed their commitment to protecting this fundamental right. The people of Kansas are likewise committed to defending the sovereignty of the state of Kansas as guaranteed in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”
He closed the letter by saying “The people of Kansas have clearly expressed their sovereign will. It is my hope that upon further review, you will see their right to do so.”
I truly believe the time has come for all states in the union to follow the lead of Kansas and implement their sovereign will. The Constitution clearly says that the role of the federal government is only to provide for the common defense, manage foreign relations, protect citizens’ constitutional rights, establish federal courts, apply and explain federal law (in the judiciary’s case), and a few other minor issues.
Complacency continues to be our only true challenge. As citizens and as states, we the people have rights and the old saying could not be more true than when it is applied here today: “Use them or lose them.” Spread the word, share the message, contact your state leaders and take back our rights!
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.