Now that Missouri Gov. Brad Parson has signed the Second Amendment Preservation Act, anti-gun activists and their allies in the press are engaged in a full-throated effort to lie and mislead about the new law, its intent, and its practical impact. On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co we’re taking a closer look at one particularly unhinged response to the law from the founder of the alt-weekly newspaper in St. Louis, the Riverfront Times.
This is about as close to an official Civil War reenactment that the lunatic edition of the Republican Party can get away with in Missouri. Don’t bother pointing out that Missouri was technically a neutral state in that war: Folks here don’t have time for critical race theory.
What they do have time for is a culture war. The message is very clear to the Biden administration, along with progressives, liberals, moderates and rational conservatives everywhere: We’d sooner secede from the union than tolerate such intrusions and indignities as background checks for gun purchases.
The Republicans want this civil war so badly that they are raging at far-flung scenarios about the seizure of all guns from law-abiding gun owners (especially white ones). It’s all about nonexistent straw men and the utterly bogus supposition that the government wants to come for Americans’ guns.
I wish I could say that Ray Hartmann is confused about the bill, but I think he’s just being duplicitous when he claims that the new law is some sort of attempt to secede from the Union. There’s no language about declaring independence or war on the federal government in the text of HB 85. Instead, the new law makes it clear that while the federal government may adopt new gun control laws, the state of Missouri and its political subdivisions won’t lift a finger to help. According to the bill’s legislative summary, the Second Amendment Preservation Act:
Declares that all federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, that infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution must be invalid in this state, including those that impose a tax, levy, fee, or stamp on these items as specified in the bill; require the registration or tracking of these items or their owners; prohibit the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of a firearm; or order the confiscation of these items
Hartmann complains that the bill is a response to imaginary straw men, conveniently ignoring Joe Biden’s own demands to ban more than 20-million legally-owned firearms and more than 100-million lawfully possessed ammunition magazines, or the dozens of gun control measures that have been introduced on Capitol Hill this year. It’s interesting that, rather than argue in favor of complying with these proposed bans, Hartmann pretends they simply don’t exist.
This is rare red-meat politics in all its irrational glory. And if you don’t believe me, consider this dumbfounding statement from Parson spokesperson Kelli Jones:
“The Governor is aware of the legal implications of this bill, but also that, now more than ever, we must define a limited role for federal government in order to protect citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This is about empowering people to protect themselves and acknowledging the federalist constitutional structure of our government.”
I’m sorry, but I believe you lost me at the part about the governor being “aware of the legal implications of this bill.” I believe that is politician-speak, circa 2021, for the following:
“We are aware that our attempt to subvert the plain language of the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause is, well, patently unconstitutional. But we want it to be known that we don’t like that clause.”
Hartmann is simply wrong here. There’s nothing unconstitutional about the new Second Amendment Preservation Act. In fact, it fits squarely within the Court’s precedent in Printz vs. U.S., which held that state and local law enforcement are under no obligation to perform the duties of federal law enforcement. Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act is comparable to California’s Sanctuary State law, which forbids state and local governments from cooperating with ICE in most cases. The Supreme Court upheld California’s law last summer, and if they have the opportunity to weigh in on the Missouri law, I’m sure the justices will do the same.
The silliest part about Hartmann’s entire argument is that he’s previously complained about racial discrimination in local policing. Why would he want local police enforcing non-violent possessory gun control laws like a federal magazine ban or a license requirement? If Hartmann wouldn’t let his instinctive anti-gun and anti-Republican rage cloud his thinking, he might understand that this law helps guard against the over-policing and over-incarceration that he and others on the Left have been railing against in recent years.
There’s also the possiblity that, despite all of his previous statements supporting criminal justice reform, Hartmann really does want to see people (mostly young Black men) sentenced to federal prison for possessing a “high capacity” magazine or an unlicensed firearm. In that case, I suggest he get used to disappointment or maybe look for a new home in Illinois, where the Democrats are firmly in charge and they’re screwing people out of their right to keep and bear arms on a daily basis.