It appears the Missouri Legislature, which is led by Republicans, will look to override Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of a gun bill that would expand gun owner rights and nullify federal gun laws. The vetoed gun bill is entitled the “Second Amendment Preservation Act.”
The Associated Press reports:
The legislation would make it a misdemeanor for federal agents to attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.” The same criminal charges would apply to journalists who publish any identifying information about gun owners. The charge would be punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Nixon said the bill infringes on the U.S. Constitution by giving precedence to state law over federal laws and by limiting the First Amendment rights of media.
The legislation is one of the boldest measures yet in a recent national trend in which states are attempting to nullify federal laws. A recent Associated Press analysis found that about four-fifths of the states have enacted local laws that directly reject or ignore federal laws on gun control, marijuana use, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses. Relatively few of those go so far as to threaten criminal charges against federal authorities.
Nixon claims that the bill infringes on the U.S. Constitution by giving precedence to state law over federal laws.
Obviously the problem Mr. Nixon fails to understand is that the federal government has no authority when it comes to arms. That is why it is the institution that is bound by the phrase “shall not be infringed.” Publius Huldah lays this out quite simply in her talk on the fact that all federal gun laws are unconstitutional.
Additionally, Nixon fails to understand nullification. James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution,” would rightly rebuke the Missouri governor for his ignorance. He wrote in Federalist No. 45 (9th para):
“The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with which last the power of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which … concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State.”
Furthermore, when the government oversteps its bounds, the Declaration of Independence says that it is the people’s right and duty “to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
In this instance nullification is actually a method of the state’s self-defense against a tyrannical federal government.
Thomas Jefferson said,
“… but where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy: that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact, (casus non foederis,) to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them…”
Madison then commented on Jefferson’s remarks saying, “… the right of nullification meant by Mr. Jefferson is the natural right, which all admit to be a remedy against insupportable oppression…”
The legislature in Missouri is merely following in the footsteps of the founders in both passing the nullification legislation and in overriding the governor’s veto. It will essentially declare federal enforcement of such laws as unconstitutional.
A friend of mine asked, “If Federal Agents attempt to enforce restrictions on guns in violation of the 2nd Amendment, would not those agents be guilty of ‘treason against the state’? Why does article IV section 2 of the U.S. Constitution (a document written by the States and ratified by the same) mention Treason against a state? When is the last time you’ve heard of someone tried and/or convicted of treason against any state?”
I think that is something the state legislature along with the various other states, such as Montana, Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming should seriously consider.
Many of the comments by Democrats, in the AP article, merely pointed out that they voted for the legislation for political aspirations and knew if they didn’t they “would lose” re-election.
This statement by Democrat Rep. Ed Schieffer is quite telling. “I personally believe that any higher court will probably rule this particular gun law unconstitutional on that, I probably agree that the governor’s right, but I may end up still voting for the gun bill because I don’t want to be on record for not supporting guns.”
So you believe something to be unconstitutional, which isn’t, but you’ll vote for it anyway to save face and keep up a pretense. That, my friends in the definition of a politician. This is a man that doesn’t care about the law or his constituents. He only cares about himself. There are many more like Rep. Schieffer around the country that need to be shown the door out of public service.
As for the Missouri legislature on this issue, well done!
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.