Some pro-gun groups are focusing their efforts exclusively at the state level.
National Public Radio recently put a spotlight on Greg Pruett, the president of the Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and his efforts to advance legislation that strengthens gun rights. Like some activists in the last few years, Pruett has come to the conclusion that Washington D.C. is filled with a lot of talk and little action. As a result, his organization has become more pragmatic in its approach to legislative change, focusing more on rolling back Idaho’s gun control policies at the local level.
It is true that because of gridlock in Washington, D.C. gun policy is largely being determined at state legislatures. On one hand, certain issues like red flag gun confiscation orders have become mainstays in blue states across the nation. On the other hand, Constitutional Carry has made solid progress in more conservatives states. In fact, Idaho recently strengthened its current Constitutional Carry law last month after Governor Brad Little signed HB 516, which now lets all out-of-state residents above the age of 18 carry a firearm without a permit.
Idaho is one of the most pro-gun states in the country. It is ranked in 2nd place according to Guns & Ammo magazine’s most gun owner-friendly states. During the last few years, it has led the way in passing legislation such as S.1332, a nullification measure that prohibits the enforcement of future gun control passed at the federal level. Nullification is a time-honored aspect of American politics and is part of the U.S.’s legacy of federalism. Put simply, states can reassert rights that the federal government infringes upon.
Such processes put the federal government in check and let states become bastions of liberty when the federal government becomes derelict in its duty to protect traditional freedoms. The Kentucky and Virginia resolutions of 1798 first asserted states’ rights against the free speech infringements brought about by the federal government’s passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts.
The current shift in activism in Idaho offers a valid lesson not just for Second Amendment proponents, but for people who want to see a whole-sale reduction in government involvement in our daily lives. Any issue — from education freedom to food freedom — can be taken up on a single issue basis and then be promoted locally. By taking efforts locally, freedom advocates can build a solid grassroots movement and reinvigorate local institutions that have long been abandoned.
Localist politics might be the way out for America to break out of its increasingly polarized political climate.