A gun bill currently rests on Gov. Jay Nixon’s (D-MO) desk, after passing the Missouri legislature by a veto-proof margin. Should it actually take effect, it would neutralize three generations of federal gun regulation, invite firearms into elementary schools and hold the First Amendment at the barrel of a gun. Here are four of the most bizarre ideas packed into this bill:
- Returning Gun Laws To The Hoover Administration: Not only does the bill claim the power to declare federal gun laws “null and void and of no effect in this state,” it then lists a long list of longstanding laws that it purports to nullify. Among them are “the federal Gun Control Act of 1934,” “the federal Gun Control Act of 1968,” and “any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of any type of firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens” — so a federal ban on machine guns would cease to exist in Missouri if this bill took effect. Nullification bills such as this one conflict with the express language of the Constitution, which provides that duly enacted federal laws “shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
- Armed Kindergarten Teachers: The bill also permits school districts to “designate one or more elementary or secondary school teachers or administrators as a school protection officer,” a designation that authorizes them to carry a concealed firearm on campus. These armed educators also gain a limited power to detain people — “[a]ny person designated as a school protection officer may detain, on view, any person the officer sees violating or who such officer has reasonable grounds to believe has violated any law of this state, including a misdemeanor or infraction, or any policy of the school.” Such detention may only last up to four hours, however, before the person being detained must be turned over to real police.
- No Gun Buybacks: Although the bill ostensibly permits counties and muncipalities to maintain gun buyback programs to try to reduce the number of guns on the street, it neuters those programs by virtually ensuring that those guns will return to circulation. All guns purchased by such buybacks “shall be offered for sale or trade to a licensed firearms dealer.” Only after two gun dealers have refused to buy the guns can the firearms be destroyed.
- Gun Gag Rule: Finally, the bill purports to turn journalists who exercise their First Amendment right to report on gun owners into criminals: “No person or entity shall publish the name, address, or other identifying information of any individual who owns a firearm or who is an applicant for or holder of any license, certificate, permit, or endorsement which allows such individual to own, acquire, possess, or carry a firearm.” Anyone who violates this provision can be charged with a class A misdemeanor.