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Republican lawmakers in a series of states are taking a new approach to thwarting federal gun laws which they feel infringe upon the Second Amendment – sticking together.
Missouri lawmakers are pondering a piece of legislation which would attempt to nullify specific federal gun control regulations from being enforced in the state. But there’s a catch: The bill, if signed, would not take effect for several years, with the hope that other states would pass similar laws.
Under the Missouri bill, any law enforcement officer who attempts to enforce such federal policies would be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. As Off The Grid News reported, last year the Republican-controlled state legislature came just one vote short of overriding the governor’s veto of a similar measure. The latest version of the bill, according to the Associated Press, includes the built-in delay.
Said Missouri Republican Senator Brian Nieves, who sponsored the legislation:
We continue to see the federal government overreach their rightful bounds, and if we can create a situation where we have some unity among states, then I think it puts us in a better position to make that argument.
Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey agreed.
“This can’t be just a Missouri effort,” he told AP. “There has to be a groundswell of support by the people — by other states as well — in order for us ultimately to be successful.”
The bill mentions no federal laws but says any federal law that “infringements on the right to keep and bear arms” cannot be enforced in the state. It would go into effect no later than January 2017. If four other states pass similar bills, it would go into effect sooner, AP said. If federal officials tried to enforce federal laws, they could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Gun rights supportive lawmakers reportedly feel that if they band together, it is far more likely that the federal government will no longer be able to shrug off their Second Amendment infringement arguments.
Republican Arkansas Representative Bob Ballinger said, “The idea is that if you’re standing alone against a federal law, then you’re not as likely to have success than if you’re standing with other states.”
Democratic Missouri Senator Jamilah Nasheed opposes the pending legislation in her state. She said, “The state will never trump federal laws. It is again another right-wing Republican attempt to go Second Amendment crazy.”
Although Nasheed and others have stated that ignoring and circumventing federal gun laws is impossible, Colorado recently showed it could be done by legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Medical marijuana had been legalized in a host of states, yet federal law still prohibits the cultivation or possession of cannabis for any reason.
The effort in Missouri isn’t the only attempt by a state to stand up against the federal government on gun laws.
As previously reported by Off The Grid News, Montana in 2009 passed the Montana Firearms Freedom Act, which says the federal government does not have authority over firearms that are made and sold within the state of Montana. For firearms to not be subject to federal laws, each gun must be labeled “Made In Montana.”
A lower court and appeals court overturned the Montana law, but the Montana Shooting Sports Association has appealed and is asking the US Supreme Court to uphold the law.