State legislators seek to block any new federal gun laws

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WASHINGTON — In Alaska, state House Speaker Mike Chenault says he’s heard complaints from all over the state about the federal government “trampling” on gun owners’ Second Amendment rights.

In Pennsylvania, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe declares that gun control advocates have “gone far enough.” And in North Dakota, state Rep. Roscoe Streyle says, “We know what’s right for our citizens.”

They are among a wave of lawmakers in at least 20 states who are pushing back against the Obama administration’s drive to pass tougher gun laws after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. They seek to exempt their states from any new federal regulations.

Even before Congress votes on new gun laws, some state legislators are intent on promoting bills based on a theory that guns and ammunition made and kept within state borders do not involve interstate commerce and are out of Washington’s reach.

“It is time to send a message to those in Washington, D.C., that we will not stand for the continual erosion of our rights and freedoms,” Nebraska state Sen. Charlie Janssen said in an Internet message.

President Barack Obama has called for background checks for all gun sales and reinstatement of bans that expired in 2004 on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Obama alluded to those proposals in his State of the Union address Tuesday, calling on Congress to bring them up for a vote.

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