Missouri lawmakers seek to ‘nullify’ federal gun laws

Missouri legislators are crafting two Second Amendment Preservation Act bills, which would nullify federal gun laws in the state, House Bill 1439 and Senate Bill 613.

This bill will make sure that Missourians have that level of protection to challenge the federal government provided to them by their state government, said House bill sponsor, state Rep. Doug Funderburk, who represents Missouri’s 103rd District.

“This is where they pay their taxes, this is the duty that every elected official in the state swears to in their oath to defend this constitution and we are defending it for the people who hired us,” he said.

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Missouri Gov. Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon

The House bill added an amendment to the original language of the bill to remove the threat of arrest for federal officers who attempt to enforce unconstitutional laws, he said.

“We now have our version going to the Senate and the leadership between the two houses will have the discussion about which bill they want to move,” he said.

“As the bill was originally drafted, there was no ability to say that even if there may have been a violation, by a federal agent, was it willful, was it intentional,” he said.

“By breaking every aspect of the Second Amendment Preservation Act out into separate clauses, if there are other portions of the bill that are challenged and the challenge is successful, those are separable clauses and you don’t lose the rest of the bill.”

The Senate bill remains the stronger bill, delivering the threat of criminal penalties to federal officers enforcing unconstitutional laws in regards to the Second Amendment, but is the more unlikely bill to pass both chambers of the General Assembly.

Funderburk said: “I am confident they’ll want to move my bill, especially because I took the criminal penalty out of the bill, because we know for certain we would receive a court challenge.”

Last year’s failed attempt at a Second Amendment nullification bill was the result of Missouri Gov. Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon’s veto.

This year’s nullification bills face the same challenge. Professor George E. Connor, head of the political science department at Missouri State University said, “I suspect that a bill can be sent to the governor.”

The professor said he is still not optimistic.

“Some of the elements that were objected by Governor Nixon in last year’s bill have been removed, but I would still expect him to veto any bill that comes to him,” he said. “While generally seen as a moderate, the governor has been acting more big D ‘Democratic’ of late, and a veto will appeal to the national base, if not in Missouri.”

Time is of the essence for these two Second Amendment Preservation Act bills.  Missouri’s 2014 legislative session ends May 30 and the threat of a veto draws out the process.

Funderburk said: “My hope is that before the end of next week we will have a vote on it in the Senate.  That is about where our timeline ends to have the ability to get it to the governor’s desk, have his 50-day waiting period, and what is believed to be his veto of the bill, and then back to both houses so that we can consider an override of the bill before session is up.”

If the governor does veto the bill, it is up to the legislators to act, he said.

Connor said, “The question is whether the General Assembly can overcome the veto.  While the Republicans have the numbers, the moderating influence of the Senate leadership prevented an override last time.”

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