Missouri bill would nullify all federal gun laws, 'past, present or future'

Supporters say that Senate leadership has promised to fast-track a cleaned-up version of a bill which failed a veto override by one vote in 2013. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo., December 17, 2013 —  In Missouri, legislation has been introduced to nullify every federal gun control measure on the books, “whether past, present or future.”

The 2nd Amendment Preservation Act, introduced as Senate Bill 613 (SB613) for the 2014 legislative session by Sen. Brian Nieves, follows on the heels of a failed effort to do the same in 2013.


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A similar bill passed both Missouri houses by a large margin earlier this year, but after a veto by Governor Jay Nixon, an override effort failed by one vote.

According to Ron Calzone of Missouri First, Senate President pro tem Tom Dempsey and majority floor leader Ron Richard have both given assurances that the new bill will be fast-tracked in 2014, even though they both sided with Nixon and voted to kill the bill this year. Their greatest concerns have been addressed in the latest version of the bill, according to Calzone.

The bill states, in part:

All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.


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The legislation bans all state employees from enforcing any federal acts which run counter to the act. Including this provision “follows the advice of James Madison,” said Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center.

“By ordering a complete stand-down on all federal gun control measures, all of them, enforcement falls back to the federal government. This is exactly what James Madison advised states to do in Federalist #46. He called it ‘a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.’”

Earlier this year on the Fox Business Channel, Judge Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, suggested that a single state taking such an action would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”

In what many legal experts consider a controversial move, the legislation also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates the state law. State and local law enforcement are given “discretionary power” in the bill to determine whether or not such charges will actually be made. Inside sources say that this was done to alleviate concerns from Missouri Law Enforcement organizations who actively lobbied against the effort in 2013, citing a requirement to arrest “federal law enforcement partners in the field” as a primary concern.


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Maharrey said that while he isn’t counting on the legal community or federal courts to uphold this particular provision, he isn’t concerned about this part of the bill, modeled after the Tenth Amendment Center’s 2nd Amendment Preservation Act.

“First of all, every bill in Missouri is severable. That means if a court finds part of it unconstitutional, the rest remains. And the main provision calling on the entire state to stop enforcing federal gun control measures is on strong legal ground with Court precedent going from 1842 to 2012. States simply are not required to help the feds violate your rights. And the feds don’t have the manpower to do it themselves.”

Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Charles, is expected to file an identical bill in the state house in the coming days.


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Michael Boldin

Michael Boldin is the founder and executive director of the Tenth Amendment Center, based in Los Angeles, CA.  Founded in 2006, the Center is a leading national resource for education and activism in support of the Constitution and liberty.

 

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