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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Big gun bill vote in Missouri tomorrow as Sharia law override

The upcoming veto session could prove a lively one for Missouri, but in the end, the veto that stands the best chance of being overridden would lead to a law that will get shot full of holes by the courts.

House Bill 436 has a lot of worrisome pieces, but at its heart it would invalidate major federal gun regulations and make it a crime for federal officials to enforce them in the state.

At its heart, then, this bill is flawed.

Does anyone really believe it’s a good idea for Missouri or any state for that matter to start declaring which federal laws it believes it has to follow and which ones it doesn’t? We’ve been here before, and it didn’t end well.

In vetoing the measure, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (himself a supporter of the Second Amendment) said: “To me, it is not a gun issue, it is a law issue.”

Nixon is right.

The feds have already put Kansas in their sights, after Kansas passed the Second Amendment Protection Act, nullifying a range of federal gun laws in Kansas.

“Any act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas,” the law reads.

But who decides which act, law, treaty, order, rule or regulation violates the Second Amendment? The Kansas legislature? Kansas residents? The governor?

“In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, (the law) directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional,” Attorney General Eric Holder informed Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. “Federal officers who are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations in order to maintain public safety cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution by a state and the continued performance of their federal duties.”

House Bill 436 also sets a precedent that may come back to bite the state. Does Joplin, for example, get to decide for itself which Missouri laws it wants to follow, and nullify and state law it thinks is unconstitutional?

There are other reasons to worry about this bill, including a provision that seeks to prevent the names of gun owners from being made public. Nixon argues that a newspaper that prints a photo of a young man or woman taking their first deer or turkey in the fall could be charged with a crime. We don’t think that will ever happen, but this bill ultimately puts the Second Amendment and the First Amendment at odds.

As always, there is a remedy in this country for people who believe the federal government has overstepped its authority. It’s called an election.

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