Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s July 5 veto of a bill designed to restrict the enforcement of federal gun laws within the state is likely to be overridden by the Republican-controlled legislature — with a little help from Democrats who are also friends of the governor.
Friendship will more-than-likely take a back seat on the vote to override the veto, which will take place when the legislature reconvenes in September, with Democrats noting “that in some parts of Missouri, a ‘no’ vote on gun legislation could be career ending,” according to Fox News.
“We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it,” said Rep. T.J. McKenna, D-Festus. But, he added the following opinion: “The bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out.”
Rep. Ben Harris, D-Hillsboro, agreed.
“Being a rural-area Democrat, if you don’t vote for any gun bill, it will kill you,” Harris said. “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.
The legislation would make it a misdemeanor for federal agents to attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.” The same criminal charges would apply to journalists who publish any identifying information about gun owners. The charge would be punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Missouri bill follows a national trend of states electing to ignore or even outlaw federal legislation on not just gun control, but also marijuana use, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses. As many as four-fifths of the states have enacted such laws, according to an Associated Press survey.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a similar anti-federal gun legislation provision in Montana, and set the stage for a future Supreme Court showdown on the issue.
That case also received support from the states of Utah, Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
“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,” Rep. Ed Schieffer, D-Troy, said. “But I may end up still voting for the gun bill, because I don’t want to be on record for not supporting guns.”