Like a pro-2nd Amendment salmon swimming against the post-New-Zealand-massacre tide, the Great State of Missouri is considering creating an Act to regulate its own firearm laws.
In a textbook case of States Rights versus Federalism, last month legislators in both the Missouri Senate and House found bipartisan support for the proposed SB (Senate Bill) 367, called the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” that would repeal Section 1.320 of the Missouri Revisor of Statutes and enact nine new sections to protect the constitutional right to bear arms.
The nine new sections would replace and expand the legal language that appears currently in Section 1.320. Here is that text in its entirety:
“The general assembly of the state of Missouri strongly promotes responsible gun ownership, including parental supervision of minors in the proper use, storage, and ownership of all firearms, the prompt reporting of stolen firearms, and the proper enforcement of all state gun laws. The general assembly of the state of Missouri hereby condemns any unlawful transfer of firearms and the use of any firearm in any criminal or unlawful activity.”
The general assembly of the state of Missouri, being “firmly resolved to support and defend the United States Constitution against every aggression, whether foreign or domestic, and is duty bound to oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the basis of the Union of the States because only a faithful observance of those principles can secure the nation’s existence and the public happiness,” while being respectful of federal government, maintains that “Whenever the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the United States Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
Those are powerful words indeed and the backbone of States Rights. States such as Missouri “reject the proposition that such respect [to federal authority and rule of law] requires unlimited submission.”
The proposed new Section 6 under SB 367 acknowledges that Congress has the power to regulate commerce in the U.S. and abroad, “but ‘regulating commerce’ does not include the power to limit citizens’ right to keep and bear arms in defense of their families, neighbors, persons, or property, or to dictate as to what sort of arms and accessories law-abiding Missourians may buy, sell, exchange, or otherwise possess within the borders of this state.”
As for the federal power to impose taxes, duties, imports, and excises “to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States,” these constitutional allowances describe only limited powers rather than unlimited power – “because to do so would be to destroy the carefully constructed equilibrium between the federal and state governments. Consequently, the general assembly rejects any claim that the taxing and spending powers of Congress can be used to diminish in any way the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
Missouri citizens granted the general assembly the authority to regulate “the manufacture, possession, exchange, and use of firearms within the borders of this state, subject only to the limits imposed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution.”
The new Section 9 under SB 367 is, word for word, the current Section 1.320.
The rest of the new proposed gun freedoms act lists “federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations” that infringe on people’s right to keep and bear arms “by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri.”
Here are the highlights of the federal prohibitions that would be prohibited in Missouri by Missouri:
- 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.
- 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 a law-abiding citizen.
- 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.
- Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens.
- Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
This Missouri State Bill 367 would invalidate any and all federal actions against the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which “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.”
Furthermore, anyone who knowingly violates these new legal provisions in Missouri “shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress,” including reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
As for federal officials, agents, employees or deputies, any who enforce or try to enforce any of the afore-mentioned infringements to the 2nd Amendment or give material aid and support to such efforts, “shall be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.”
Under this new Missouri law, it would be illegal for the state or any political subdivision of the state to employ as a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers any person defined as ineligible. Fingering a guilty infractor would be grounds for immediate termination.
It is worth a final note that the Senators and Congresspeople in Missouri took the extra trouble to tack onto the end of their new SB 367 a clarification about the term “law abiding citizen,” used in the new sections 1.410 to 1.485. It means “a person who is not otherwise precluded under state law from possessing a firearm and shall not be construed to include anyone who is not legally present in the United States or the state of Missouri.” Glad they cleared that up.
Will other States follow where Missouri dares to tread in support of every citizen’s right to keep and bear arms – even if other people don’t want to? Time and tides will tell. But in Missouri, that old NRA bumper sticker still holds true:
“You can have my gun when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.”