Missouri Senate Votes to Nullify Federal Gun Laws

On Thursday, the Missouri Senate passed SB613, which is a version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act which would nullify federal gun laws, which was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon last year. The vote on the bill was 23-10.

As I told you in January, this bill really has teeth in it. Not only does it forbid the use of state or local resources to help enforce federal gun laws, but additionally it will criminalize any actions of federal agents to enforce federal gun laws. State and local law enforcement will be given “discretionary power” to determine whether charges would be made.

SB613 counts as what could be the strongest defense against federal encroachments on the right to keep an bear arms ever considered at the state level. It reads, in part:

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All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court 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 I and 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.

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Federal acts which would be considered “null and void and of no effect” include, but are not limited to:

(a) 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;

(b) 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;

(c) 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;

(d) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and

(e) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens

According to the Tenth Amendment Center, the National Rifle Association came out against the legislation due to a proposed amendment:

Anti-gun Senator Jamilah Nasheed added language requiring gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hrs after the discovery of the theft. The NRA claimed the amendment also included penalties.

“Those who are unable to report a lost or stolen firearm within this arbitrary amount of time, would be subject to penalties including: a $1,000 fine, Class A misdemeanor and the loss of their Right to Carry Permit.”

But the actual text of the amendment included no such language. (read it here)

Bill author Sen. Brian Nieves and Nasheed agreed to reconsider and the amendment was removed earlier this week, removing the source of NRA opposition.

There is also an accompanying Senate Joint Resolution (SJR36) which would propose a change to the Missouri state constitution, which would obligate the state government to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. That resolution passed the Senate also on Thursday 29-4. If the House approved the resolution, it will go to the voters of Missouri this Fall for approval.

According to Missouri First, as a constitutional amendment to the Missouri Constitution’s existing Article I, Sec. 23, SJR 36 does these things:

  • Elevates the right to keep and bear arms to “unalienable rights” status. While you and I would and should maintain that a “right is a right”, the courts don’t look at it that way. The courts give more weight to some constitutional rights than others. Government actions infringing on what they consider lesser rights are not scrutinized as closely as the “weightier” rights. For example, when a citizen claims his rights are being violated by some law, the courts can “test” the law against two basic standards of review. The least strict standard is often referred to as the “Rational Basis Test”, and the tougher standard — the one that best protects your rights — is the “Compelling State Interest Test”.
  • The Second thing SJR36 does is “obligate” the state to protect the right to keep and bear arms from all infringements — including those from the federal government. Coupled with the “unalienable” provision, this clause will also help to defend any bills like SB613 to nullify unconstitutional federal gun control laws if those bills are challenged in state courts. This is an important provision that helps to empower state nullification of unconstitutional federal edicts.
  • It adds “ammunition and accessories” as explicitly constitutional protected. And adds the phrase “any restriction on these rights shall be subject to strict scrutiny” to the state Constitution. This phrase reinforces the concept in (1), above, which is a tremendous help in keeping the courts from redefining our gun rights.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” –Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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