On Friday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed an unconstitutional gun bill that would have armed school teachers, gagged journalists who report on gun owners, and that purported to nullify a long list of federal gun laws stretching back to the Roosevelt Administration.
In his veto message, Nixon explains at length why he correctly believes this bill to be unconstitutional. Notably, Nixon also warns about the consequences of allowing states to nullify federal laws their lawmakers disagree with. As his veto message warns, “[c]onsider how our nation’s efforts during the Second World War might have been frustrated if, following the passage of the Burke-Wadsworth Act, individual states could have exempted their citizens from selective service, or how one state’s economic prosperity might have been diminished if one or more contiguous states opted out of the Federal Highways Act of 1956, thereby making it more difficult to bring goods and services to market.”
In this sense, Nixon’s veto message echoes a similar warning from James Madison, who protested that nullification would “speedily put an end to the Union itself.”
Although Nixon’s veto is good news for those who believe that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, there is no guarantee that the veto will succeed in halting the gun bill. It passed the GOP-dominated Missouri legislature by veto proof majorities.