Missouri legislators take aim at federal gun control measures

missouriJefferson City, January 26, 2014– The Missouri State House of Representatives is working on a bill that would virtually nullify any past, present or future gun control laws handed down by the feds.

House Bill 1439 reads in part, “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 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.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Funderburk (R-103) and has already picked up 33 co-sponsors.

HB1439 serves as the companion bill to SB 613.  Sen. Brian Nieves introduced the Senate version earlier this month.

A similar bill passed both Missouri houses by a large margin earlier this year, but after a veto by Governor Jay Nixon, an override effort failed by one vote.

HB1439 goes on to state that “the general assembly hereby occupies and preempts the entire field of legislation touching in any way firearms, components, ammunition and supplies to the complete exclusion of any order, ordinance or regulation by any political subdivision of this state. Any existing or future orders, ordinances or regulations in this field are hereby and shall be null and void.”

The legislation bans all state employees from enforcing any federal acts which run counter to the state law. By ordering a complete stand-down on all federal gun control measures, enforcement falls back to the federal government. This is exactly what James Madison advisedstates to do in Federalist #46. He called it “a refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union.”

Earlier this year on the Fox Business Channel, Judge Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst, suggested that taking such an action would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”

In what many legal experts consider a controversial move, the legislation also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates the state law. State and local law enforcement are given “discretionary power” in the bill to determine whether or not such charges will actually be made. Inside sources say that this was done to alleviate concerns from Missouri Law Enforcement organizations who actively lobbied against the effort in 2013, citing a requirement to arrest “federal law enforcement partners in the field” as a primarily concern.

While the legal community and federal courts may not uphold this particular provision, every bill in Missouri is severable. That means if a court finds part of it unconstitutional, the rest remains. And the main provision calling on the entire state to stop enforcing federal gun control measures is on strong legal ground with Court precedent going from 1842 to 2012. States simply are not required to help the feds violate your rights. And the feds don’t have the manpower to do it themselves. The anti-commandeering doctrine holds that the feds do not have the authority to make the states act in any way, shape or form against their will. This has been upheld in four separate Supreme Court cases and is widely accepted as legally valid.

To follow the progress of the legislation one may check in on the Tenth Amendment Center’s action center.

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