Missouri to nullify federal firearm laws while Obama offers new gun control measures
Gun enthusiasts look at various firearms on the floor at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Annual Meetings and Exhibits in St. Louis, Missouri. (AFP Photo / Karen Bleier)
As the White House rolls out new plans meant to curb violent gun crime in America, residents in the state of Missouri may soon be able to bypass federal firearm laws.
United States Vice President Joe Biden announced additional steps on Thursday that the Obama administration will move forward with as part of a gun-control initiative ramped-up following last year’s mass shooting at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. At the same time, however, the Republican-controlled state legislature in Missouri is on the verge of defying both the governor and the US Constitution by pushing forward a bill that will prohibit local authorities from enacting federal gun laws.
Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed Republican-authored legislation last month that would make it a misdemeanor for the feds to attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms.” Despite shutting down the bill, however, lawmakers are expected to override his veto in the coming days and let the measure go on the books.
If passed, the law will also force journalists who publish identifying information about gun owners to pay a $1,000 fine and spend a year in jail. Gov. Nixon said it could start a precedent that would erode some First Amendment rights for the media if his veto is rejected.
In a letter to the New York Times, Nixon said the bill would make it a crime for a local newspaper to publish “photos of proud young Missourians who harvest their first turkey or deer.” According to some estimates, however, local lawmakers will likely make it impossible for the law to be vetoed anytime soon.
When the bill was originally passed in the State House, 108 of the 109 Republicans voted in favor of it, as did 11 Democrats. In the Senate, the Times reported, two-dozen Republicans and 2 Democrats signed on in support. In order for the veto to be rejected, the legislature will need 109 votes from the House and 23 from the Senate.
State Representative T. J. McKenna (D-Festus) told the Times he voted for the bill even though he doesn’t favor it because the repercussions could have been dastardly.
“If you just Google my name, it’s all over the place about what a big coward I am,” he told the paper. “I can’t be Mr. Liberal, St. Louis wannabe,” he said. “What am I supposed to do? Just go against all my constituents?”
Speaking to Fox News, McKenna added that the bill would violate constitutional law and will likely be thrown out, even if the veto override receives enough votes.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is hoping he can advance reformed gun rules on a federal level that, if the Missouri legislature has its way, will be null and void in The Show-Me State—until, of course, a court intervenes and opines otherwise.
Months after the White House announced plans to reform laws in the wake of the Newtown shooting, Biden on Thursday said the administration is looking to tackle firearm crime by launching two new front lines in their war against guns. The vice president proposed a White House plan to stop letting military weapons be re-sold to people in the US or allied countries, as well as another that would close down a loophole that currently lets Americans who are ineligible to own a firearm bypass restrictions by registering weapons in the name of a corporation or trust.
"It's simple, it's straightforward, it's common sense," Biden said.