Kansas recently passed a controversial law that invalidates federal gun control measures. In less than two weeks, Missouri could join Kansas in the fight for gun rights.
The legislature sent the Second Amendment Preservation Act to Governor Jay Nixon last week, and it’s been waiting on his desk there ever since. Both houses passed the bill with an impressive majority.
The Missouri Governor does not have a very good track record with guns. He was recently entangled in a scandal over a leaked concealed carry permit list. To avoid even more complications, Nixon said that he would probably let the bill set on his desk and do nothing.
Normally, gubernatorial inaction would slow down or possibly even stop a bill from becoming a law altogether. In Missouri, though, things are a little bit different. The Missouri Constitution reads, “If any bill shall not be returned by the governor within the time limits prescribed by this section it shall become law in like manner as if the governor had signed it.” Essentially, Nixon refusing to sign the bill (but also refusing to veto the bill) is just as good as giving the bill his thumbs up.
If this bill is passed, it would make it impossible for state law enforcement and department of justice officials to enforce federal gun control laws. Specifically, any federal guidelines, “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.”
This bill may be well on its way to becoming law with Gov. Nixon’s half-hearted cooperation, but it might not continue to be a bill for very long. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has promised that he will fight against any law that seeks to invalidate federal gun control legislation – not because he wants to support gun control, but because he wants to protect the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Holder wrote to Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas regarding a similar law, “In purporting to override federal law and to criminalize the official acts of federal officers, [the law] directly conflicts with federal law and is therefore unconstitutional. Federal officers who are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations in order to maintain public safety cannot be forced to choose between the risk of a criminal prosecution by a state and the continued performance of their federal duties.”
He added that he would “take all appropriate action, including litigation if necessary” to stop the law. In short, the Second Amendment Protection Act may not have a very bright future.