Missouri may have just made the most monumental step towards freedom and individual liberty since the signing of the Bill of Rights. In an upcoming vote by Missouri’s state senate, the state is expected to pass a bill that would nullify ALL Federal gun laws and regulations, and make enforcement of those laws by federal officers within the State of Missouri a criminal offense. Republicans control both U.S. Senate seats and more than two-thirds of the seats in both the Missouri House and Senate.
Like it’s predecessor, SB613, Bill SB367 and it’s companion, House Bill HB786, would prevent all state agencies and their employees from enforcing any federal law that infringes the Second Amendment in any way, including gun registrations, fees, fines, licenses and bans. Originally authored in 2014, a former version of the bill was also passed, but vetoed by then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.
Pro-Gun Legislation with teeth
A stipulation of the newly passed bill states:
“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.”
For added measure, SB367’s authors went into great detail on what federal laws will be “considered null and void and of no effect.”
(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
Such language is designed to guarantee that the measure can’t be worked around or misninterpreted by legislators or law enforcement agencies. This is an example of pro-gun legislation with teeth.
Law Enforcement will be losing their ill-gotten gains
The bill passed despite heavy opposition by Missouri’s law enforcement community, which should be no surprise, as Missouri law enforcement agencies raked in $34,462,153 in forfeitures from 2001 to 2008, according to a report by the Institute of Justice. That’s a lot of cash for doing Uncle Sam’s bidding, and now law enforcement officers will have to focus on collecting revenue from actual criminals, instead of stealing it from gun owners.
The bill’s other stiff opposition came from an unlikely source: the NRA. Anti-gun Senator Jamilah Nasheed tried to sneak language into SB367 that would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hours after the discovery of the theft, or face a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. However, the actual text of the bill included no such language.
Bill author Senator Eric Burlison and bill saboteur Senator Nasheed agreed to reconsider and the stolen firearm reporting clause was removed earlier this week, thus satisfying the source of NRA opposition.
Here’s where things get interesting. The Missouri bill also includes criminal charges for any federal agent who violates SB367. As per the new law, state and local (municipal & county) law enforcement officers would be given “discretionary power” to determine if they will press criminal charges against federal agents who break the law by enforcing the now nullified federal gun control measures.
But will it hold up in a federal court?
Yes. The bill’s main provision calling on the entire state to cease enforcing federal gun control measures stands on solid legal ground under the anti-commandeering doctrine. Court precedent from 1842 to 2012 stipulates that the feds simply cannot require a state to help them violate your Constitutional rights, and allows states the power to refuse to enforce such federal laws it deems unConstitutional. Besides, the feds simply don’t have the manpower to do it at the state level without the assistance and partnership of state and local agencies.
Just in case that isn’t enough, Missouri’s Senate also passed a measure supporters say will work hand-in-hand with SB367, solidifying it by codifying the Second Amendment into Missouri’s state constitution. Senate Joint Resolution 36 (SJR36) proposes an amendment to the Missouri state constitution with text obligating the state government to uphold the right to keep and bear arms. It passed the Senate today by a vote of 29-4. If passed by the House, it will be entered on the ballot for Missouri voters’ approval this fall. The amendment would elevate the Right to Bear Arms to “unalienable status,” thereby obligating the state, its courts and agencies to defend it as a guaranteed right of Missouri citizens.
Can you imagine if other states follow suit? It would spell the death of gun control in red states, at the very least, if not a step toward political Balkanization. Blue voters would leave red states for those states which prefer heavy-handed federal regulations, and red voters in blue states would have less incentive to continue having their rights treated as privileges. We’ll see if they can get it approved by Missouri’s Governor this time.