This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Nearly 500 people rallied for state rights at the Utah Capitol on Wednesday as legislators announced the formation of the Patrick Henry Caucus, which has become a national movement.
State Rep. Carl Wimmer, who created the caucus, invited his wife and three young children to join him at the podium.
"I do not want to have to face these kids and tell them I didn't do everything I could to defend and preserve their liberty," the conservative from Herriman said as his voice choked with emotion.
The patriotic rhetoric rang through the Capitol Rotunda as the three other Republican legislators who founded the caucus, Reps. Chris Herrod, Stephen Sandstrom and Ken Sumsion -- all from Utah County -- addressed the crowd, which broke out into cheers often.
"I'm grateful to be in a room with people who love freedom as much as I do," Herrod said.
The Utah caucus, which has about 25 representatives and five senators, plans to run several bills that will reinstitute rights caucus members say the federal government has taken from them.
One bill will be similar to a law recently signed in Montana that allows guns manufactured and remaining within the state to be free from federal gun regulations.
Another would require local law enforcement to enforce only those federal laws that have a correlating state law.
And land use is another top priority.
"We are going to be very, very aggressive with land use and drilling options for gas and oil," Wimmer said.
Collin Warner, a South Ogden resident who attended, said the movement for state rights goes beyond parties and conservative and liberal divides.
"It's not about left and right, but up and down, with the top being tyranny and the bottom being anarchy," Warner said. "The Founding Fathers found that middle ground, and we need to find it again."
House Speaker Dave Clark said that while he has not joined the caucus, it's good for all state legislators to fight for state rights.
"There are things that are not in the Constitution that Congress has said are their responsibility," he said. "Anything we can do to empower the state for its own sovereignty and destiny is a good thing."