Missouri legislators are about to override a veto by Gov Jay Nixon, to enact one of the toughest nullification laws in the US. The bill would make it a crime for federal officers to attempt to enforce federal gun laws in Missouri carrying a possible sentence of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The same penalty would apply to journalists who publish information about gun owners.
Several democrats have already said they would vote to override the veto, even though they feel the bill is unconstitutional. They concede that they come from parts of the state where a no vote is a career ending move. They feel the bill is unconstitutional because it places state law above federal law and it violates the freedom of the press.
Proponents of the bill, maintain that it is constitutional because federal laws and threatened executive orders from Obama, would actually violate the 2nd Amendment. And the press cannot be allowed to publish information that could put gun owners in danger.
The nullification bill is the strongest one offered to date. The AP did an analysis of nullification laws and found that 80% of the states have passed nullification laws on gun control, marijuana use, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses.
Last week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, threw out a law passed by the state of Montana in which Montana attempted to void laws that covered guns manufactured and sold within the state. The Obama administration invoked the commerce clause that allows the federal government to regulate trade. But guns manufactured and sold within the state is not interstate commerce.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is made up of 68% democratically appointed judges and is the most overturned Appeals court in America. Montana was supported by AGs from Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The ruling could affect similar laws passed by other states. It is almost inevitable that such laws will have to be decided by the US Supreme Court.
To overide the governor's veto, the House needs 109 votes (The original vote was 116-38, with eleven democrats supporting the bill) and 23 votes in the senate. (They original vote was 26-6 with 2 democrats voting in favor of the bill)
Rep. T.J. McKenna, D-Festus, was quoted as saying, “We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it, the bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out.”
Democrats in Missouri openly admit they voted for the bill even though they oppose it, because they fear for their jobs. Ben Harris of Hillsboro said::
“Being a rural-area Democrat, if you don’t vote for any gun bill, it will kill you. That’s what the Republicans want you to do is vote against it, because if you vote against it, they’ll send one mailer every week just blasting you about guns, and you’ll lose” re-election."
Democratic Rep. Ed Schieffer added:
“I personally believe that any higher court will probably rule this particular gun law unconstitutional on that, I probably agree that the governor’s right. But I may end up still voting for the gun bill, because I don’t want to be on record for not supporting guns.”
The override is expected no later than next week.