A Missouri bill that would make all federal gun laws “null and void” and criminalize enforcement of those laws was sent to Gov. Jay Nixon (D) Thursday, after it overwhelmingly passed the House this week by a vote of 118–36. If the bill is signed into law by the state’s Democratic governor, Missouri would become the second state to enact a nullification law that is clearly unconstitutional. After the enactment of a Kansas law containing similar provisions, Attorney General Eric Holder sent Kansas officials a letter warning that the Department of Justice would take Kansas to court over the issue. The bill also contains several other provisions to relax state gun laws. Fox News reports:
In addition to declaring federal gun laws unenforceable, the bill would allow concealed weapons to be carried by designated school personnel in school buildings. It would allow appointed “protection officers” to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course.
The bill would also allow people with a firearms permit to openly carry weapons less than 16 inches in length even in localities that prohibit open-carry of firearms.
Privacy rights of gun owners have been a hot topic this legislative session after lawmakers learned the state Highway Patrol shared the list of concealed weapons permit holders with a federal agent in the Social Security Administration.
The legislation passed Wednesday would prevent people from publishing any identifying information on gun owners. A person who publishes such information would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. It also would prevent doctors or nurses from being required to ask patients about firearm ownership.
The measure would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19.
The bill’s nullification provision not only declares invalid all laws that “infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.” It also specifically states that several existing federal gun laws are void, including the Gun Control Act of 1968, even though that law merely sets forth the basic licensing system and list of prohibited gun purchasers and sellers that is now in place, and has not been deemed to violate the Second Amendment. The law also makes enforcement by federal officials a misdemeanor, and creates a private cause of action for Missouri citizens who are the subjects of federal enforcement to file a lawsuit for damages.
The bill even prohibits laws that impose “registration” and “confiscation” of guns, even though the failed bill in Congress to simply expand background checks would have included a provision explicitly banning a gun registry, and making its implementation punishable with jail time — a point that even gun rights organizations made during the National Rifle Association’s recent conference. But this is not the only recent Missouri bill to take an extreme and untenable position. The state Senate recently voted to entirely defund the state’s driver’s license bureau, citing gun confiscation worries, and both houses passed a bill to thwart a nonbinding United Nations resolution on sustainable resource development that conspiracy theorists warn will take away their freedom.