Missouri is one of many states taking a hard look at the federal government's increasingly insatiable appetite for draconian gun laws, and at what states can do to protect their citizens from such federal usurpations. Here in Missouri, this push-back against oppressive federal gun regulation comes in the form of sheriffs vowing not to enforce any new federal gun laws, and legislation that would nullify such laws--and even criminalize their enforcement.
The first of these bills is Missouri HB 162, introduced by Representative Chrissie Sommer (R-St. Charles). HB 162 is a "Firearms Freedom Act" law, similar to legislation covered by St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner for years now. Such laws exempt firearms, ammunition and accessories that are manufactured entirely within the state, and remain within the state, from federal regulation. States have this authority because the only federal authority to regulate guns--even disregarding the Second Amendment--rests within the interstate commerce clause.
Unfortunately, federal courts have for decades permitted such brutal abuse of that clause in the Constitution, that there seems literally nothing that Congress cannot claim to be part of "interstate commerce." That being the case, the Obama administration's "Justice" Department, under Attorney General Eric Holder, has challenged these laws in states that have passed them, with probably justifiable confidence of winning in court, despite very compelling arguments that even the Firearms Freedom Act legislation does not go nearly as far as a logical, honest reading of the interstate commerce clause would allow.
Legislation that probably annoys the feds even more is HB 170, introduced by Representative Casey Guernsey (R-Bethany), Under HB 170, law enforcement officers at any level, including federal, would be guilty of a felony for enforcing any new federal gun laws. However much HB 170 annoys the feds, we know it annoys the St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board:
But the heavy lifting still will have to come in a Congress and state legislatures that must overcome the extremists in their midst. That would include the 62 Missouri Republicans who believe that signing their name to what amounts to an act of secession is more valuable politically than keeping children safe from harm.
There’s no chance that HB 170 will ever become law, but its very introduction makes America less safe. . . . It creates an atmosphere in which organizations like the NRA bully weak-kneed politicians into taking harsh positions that have nothing to do with constitutional rights and everything to do with fomenting division.
The Post does not bother to explain how protecting citizens' Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is "an act of secession."
Last week, in a committee hearing discussing both bills, Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis), although not speaking directly against either of them, seemed to disapprove of them, and for a particularly insidious reason. From the Missouri Net:
Representative Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) asked whether either proposal could jeopardize federal funding that comes to Missouri to support law enforcement programs.
“My question is, if we draw the line in the sand … if that also comes with withholding federal funds that do things like keep guns off the streets, is it worth it?”
In other words, Colona wants to know if protecting Missourians' Constitutional rights is "worth" losing federal money--if perhaps Missouri should let the federal government buy the state's complicity in, or at least non-interference with, the violation of citizens' fundamental human rights. On top of that, take note of what he chooses for his example of what that federal bribe money could buy: efforts to "keep guns off the street," which sounds a whole lot like disarming Missourians.
Rep. Colona needs to hear from St. Louisans that their rights are not for sale to the federal government--or to anyone else.
Care to tell him?
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