Missouri Nullification Bill
Gun Laws, Gun Politics

Missouri Nullification Bill

On April 18, the Missouri House of Representatives passed a nullification bill that prohibits the enforcement of federal gun grabs within the sovereign borders of the state.

Voting 115-41, Missouri lawmakers approved the bill named Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 436).

State Senate is working on a nearly identical bill, sponsored by state Senator Brian Nieves.

HB 436, was approved by the entire House in less than a day after passing the first round of approval. The sponsor of the bill Doug Funderburk said “I think this bill removes the noose the federal government has been gradually putting around the necks of its citizens and pulling it tighter, and tighter, and tighter.”

The bill simply informs Washington that “Missouri won’t surrender its right to reject unconstitutional federal acts and will protect the right of its citizen to keep and bear arms”.

Text of the bill reads, in part:

“All federal acts, laws, orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which 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 shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”

What the Missouri legislature is trying to do here, is “occupy the field” (or invoke the pre-emption), and prevent Federal government from creating unassailable law that would infringe on the gun rights within the state. The effectiveness of this tactic is debateable at best. Federal laws trump state laws, period. People may not like it, but that’s the way it is. Until that changes, provisions declaring enforcement of Federal gun laws illegal seem like nothing more than an attempt to score cheap political points.

Fighting for the Second Amendment is all well and good, but involving bills of dubious constitutional provenance can only hurt the cause. First, it lulls people into a false sense of security, making them believe the rights they hold dear are protected. Second, it is just crass, and paints unfavourable picture about gun owners either die hard fanatics willing to go along with unconstitutional laws to protect their… constitutional rights (see the problem here?) or just sheep, easily manipulated by canny politicians. Third, it allows people who do not have our best interests at heart to stay in power, people who are willing to vote in the bill they know is ineffective in order to get some easy votes or people who are sufficiently ignorant of the law they are supposed to uphold.

You tell me, which is worse?


April 25, 2013

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Missouri Nullification Bill”

  1. I disagree with this article. Firstly, the Supremacy clause only has effect when in pursuance of the Constitution. Therefore, a Constitutional amendment has Supremacy over federal laws. The Second Amendment therefore has Supremacy over Federal Firearms regulations. The 9th amendment specifically bars construing an Enumerated power given to the Federal government to take on a power that is NOT enumerated. The 10th amendment then further limits the Federal power by stating that all rights NOT enumerated belong to the States and the People. In addition, the only power Congress has that relates to this area, is the Interstate Commerce clause. When ALL of these elements are combined, as they rightly are and should be – therein is the crux of the entire matter.

    To say that the Federal Government can make any law it likes, and therefore override any State law it likes, regardless of what that law might be, is myopic and false. This may be how it is ACTING, but that is not the TRUTH.

    This bill’s nullification only applies to the manufacture, possession, exchange, and use of firearms WITHIN THIS STATE’S BORDERS. To say it applies anywhere else and in any other case is a misinterpretation. Therefore, there is no inter-state commerce. Therefore the Federal government has no enumerated power to control it. Once the above crosses state borders, ONLY THEN does it come under Federal jurisdiction. Just because the Federal government -says- it isn’t so, does not mean that it isn’t the truth.

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