AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
The way the United States operates is probably not quite what our Founding Fathers envisioned. For example, we know they weren’t fond of political parties…then promptly created political parties. They were big on freedom, then promptly restricted it.
It’s been pretty much downhill since then in a lot of ways.
One thing we know they wanted, though, was a fairly weak federal government and strong state governments. They wanted states to set their own laws, by and large. That also means they likely would have favored states nullifying certain extraconstitutional laws.
So, they’d be pretty happy with a Missouri proposal.
The Show Me State has made headlines in recent years for its aggressive support of Second Amendment rights, but the legislature is now considering the ultimate protection: nullification. The Missouri legislature has reintroduced a bill that would nullify all federal gun control laws within the state and bars state agencies from employing any federal law enforcement official who tries to enforce said laws.
The Missouri House and Senate passed a similar piece of legislation in 2014, but then-Democratic Gov. Jeremiah Wilson “Jay” Nixon vetoed it. Now that a Republican holds the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City, Missouri may well become the first state to bar enforcement of laws that restrict its citizens’ gun rights.
The bill’s authors point out that even though the state governments granted supremacy to the Constitution, respect for the federal government does not require “unlimited submission.” The bill specifies in detail all the types of federal laws and statues that will be null and void within Missouri’s borders and takes thinly veiled shots at NFA tax stamps and firearms registries.
All kinds of federal gun control laws will be void, including:
- Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
- Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
- Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
- Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and
- Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
It’s pointed out that should the bill pass, there will be a lot of legal scrutiny on this. That’s not exactly surprising.
What would be surprising is if the law would be permitted to stand.
Don’t get me wrong; I love it. I want it to stand. Hell, it might be enough to convince me to relocate to Missouri if it does–well, that and a state looking at requiring everyone have an AR-15–but I’m not convinced it will.
Keep in mind how rare it is to see a constitutional absolutist on the bench in pretty much any court. Even Justice Scalia who was such a staunch supporter of the Constitution wrote that some restrictions on the Second Amendment were reasonable. If that’s the case, then just who is going to hear a case like this and allow it to stand?
That’s a shame, though. I want this to become the norm.
What I will say is that Missouri is making a bid to be the most pro-gun state in the nation with stuff like this. Good for them.