Second Amendment Preservation Act Fails: Missouri Won't Ban Federal Gun Laws

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Michael Glasgow photo via Flickr
It won't be a crime to enforce federal gun laws in Missouri after all.

The state legislature yesterday failed to override Governor Jay Nixon's veto and enact one of the most extreme pro-gun measures in the country -- the highly controversial House Bill 436, which would have, among many contested provisions, made it illegal for police to enforce certain federal firearm laws in the state.

"Missourians deserve common sense solutions that move Missouri forward," Nixon, a Democrat, says in a statement. "As a gun owner and supporter of the Second Amendment, I applaud the bipartisan vote in the Senate to sustain my veto of this unnecessary, unconstitutional and unsafe nullification bill."

See also: GunBusters Firearms Pulverizer: Chesterfield Machine Destroys Confiscated Guns (VIDEOS)

The House of Representatives did vote 109-49 in favor of overriding Nixon on this gun legislation.

In the end, however, the State Senate blocked the measure from becoming law with a 22-12 vote.

The failure of this high-profile GOP bill comes after a week of steady criticism from a diverse range of law enforcement officials in the state.

Gov. Jay Nixon.

Attorney General Chris Koster, also a Democrat, offered a lengthy rebuke of the bill, arguing that it would effectively end partnerships between state and federal law enforcement officials and would give serious offenders -- ones guilty of federal firearm crimes -- the opportunity to sue police officers for simply doing their job. The Missouri Sheriff's Association said it would violate its oath, with an official in Franklin county, which has notoriously high meth lab rates, arguing that HB 436 could dismantle its drug task force. Federal prosecutors one day earlier announced the arrest of more than two dozen suspects in a massive indictment, noting that officers involved in this case would potentially face both criminal and civil lawsuits if the bill is in effect.

A police chief who has vocally opposed federal gun control even slammed the bill.

Proponents of the measure have argued that these kinds of interpretations of the negative law enforcement impacts are wrong and that states have a right -- and obligation -- to push back against unconstitutional federal policies.

Here is footage of Republican State Senator Brian Nieves -- who has made his distaste for Nixon and Koster very clear -- slamming opponents of the bill:

The failed override earned praise from national gun control advocates, including Mark Kelly, co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, and husband to former congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The effort to nullify federal gun law was not the only controversial component of HB 436.

Here are four other noteworthy components:

1. Violating First Amendment?
In a stated effort to protect the privacy of gun owners, the legislation says, "No person or entity shall publish the name, address, or other identifying information of any individual who owns a firearm or who is an applicant for or holder of any license, certificate, permit, or endorsement which allows such individual to own, acquire, possess, or carry a firearm."

Critics -- notably the Missouri Press Association -- argued that this would potentially make it a crime to even write about criminals. It could, for example, outlaw reporters covering pro-gun rallies.

2. Guns in schools
The bill's establishment of the "school protection officers" option faced scrutiny from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and some argue it could have made designated teachers vulnerable to termination if they didn't carry their firearms:

3. Selling confiscated guns
As we noted yesterday in our post on the so-called "firearms pulverizer" machine, this legislation would change the law regarding police destruction of confiscated guns, essentially requiring cops to first attempt and sell or trade firearms to licensed dealers before pulverization: "Any firearm received shall be offered for sale or trade to a licensed firearms dealer. The proceeds from any sale or gains from trade shall be the property of the county, municipality, or governmental body.... Any firearm remaining in the possession of the county, municipality, or governmental body after the firearm has been offered for sale or trade to at least two licensed firearms dealers may be destroyed."

4. Confusion in Missouri's conceal carry law?
Both the sheriff's association and the attorney general's office cited concerns about how this new law could potentially create conflicts with existing (recently passed) laws on the issuance of conceal carry permits. If enacted, the law could have created confusion around the permitting process, potentially undoing a bill signed into law earlier this year.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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James Madison
James Madison

The Feds make it illegal for States to enforce the Federal immigration laws, so why should the States allow the Feds to enforce unconstitutional laws with their own States? The States' duties are to protect the rights of its citizens, even from the Federal gov't.

JamesMadison topcommenter

Missouri can enforce Federal gun laws, but Missouri cannot enforce Federal immigration laws. Makes perfect sense, right? The State of Missouri should not be a tool of the Federal government. Does no one understand the principles of Federalism? If Missouri wants to pass tougher laws, it should be able to do so. If Missouri wants to not enforce what the Federal govt wants for the other 49 states, Missouri should be free to not spend one dime on that enforcement. If the Feds pass an unconstitutional bill, Missouri should defend the rights of its citizens.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

This whole thing has been a huge waste of time and tax dollars. Move on.

David Enders
David Enders

Wow,there is intelligent life in Jeff city.

Nikki Olden Moungo
Nikki Olden Moungo

Finally MO gets it right. What a ridiculous bill & a waste of taxpayer money! As a responsible gun owner & 2A supporter, there is no way I could support such a bill. Yes, I am the golden unicorn no one thinks exists. Strange, because every sportsmen & hunter we know (and we know a LOT) is FOR/PRO common sense gun control measures. People always act surprised to know we're "armed liberals", when in actuality, we are the majority, go figure. As much as I'd like to be a golden unicorn, I am not. So tired of people not using their brain when it comes to the 2A and what it's literal interpretation is. Watching someone you love die because an IDIOT had a gun tends to give you perspective, sadly too late.

Tim Nelson
Tim Nelson

Once again our state screws up...

Margaret Booker
Margaret Booker

Not relieved. Sad another state's legislature is even more extreme than ours.

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

I feel like people like bending over to their government. But hey, to each their own.


Point #3 is something I personally was in favor of.  Returning stolen property should be something that police do and using firearms sales to raise funds for local police departments would allow for more money for training and equipment.  Destruction of private property by the police after it was recovered from those who illegally possessed said property with NO force of law to return said property to the rightful owner is wrong.

If the Commerce Clause as written in the Constitution was followed as opposed to what became of it after Wickard v Filburn, the NFA '34 would have been found to be unconstitutional in reference to limiting what an individual, non-business entity had manufactured for personal use.  Wickard established that if something MIGHT be sold outside of a state's boundaries that Congress has the power to use the Interstate Commerce Clause to restrict intrastate commerce.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around how busting a meth lab would be enforcing Federal firearms laws, unless the DA decided to let the firearms violations stand which would be foolish as that would definitely have opened up police and feds to civil and criminal charges.  That's a moot point, anyway.

Much like Manchin-Toomey, there were some good things in that bill but the bad far outweighed the good.  If the good parts are introduced as bills in the next session, I will work to get them passed. 


Well at least there is some sanity left in Missouri.  This was a moronic law that was as well thought out as a two am drunk tattoo.

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