Even though the Missouri 2nd Amendment Preservation Act (HB1439) is stronger than Thomas Jefferson’s original nullification resolution in 1798, a debate over whether to make it even stronger or not is likely to kill the strongest nullification bill in modern times.
HB1439 has passed both chambers, but with different language. The general concept is that the state would consider all federal gun control measures to be null and void – and would ban the state from enforcing or assisting in their enforcement. This would, as Judge Andrew Napolitano has said, make those federal acts “nearly impossible to enforce.”
The Senate handler of the bill, Sen. Nieves, wants to keep a clause which would make any federal agent who violates the right to keep and bear arms in Missouri forever ineligible to hold a law enforcement position within the state.
This is a good addition to the bill – because it closes a loophole whereby federal agencies deputize local law enforcement to carry out the federal act. They could then say that the law no longer applied to them while deputized, and continue to help the federal government violate the 2nd Amendment.
Law enforcement organizations and leadership from all around the state are strongly opposed to this as they don’t want anything to hinder their ability to “work with their federal partners.” In other words, they want the status quo.
The House handler, Rep. Funderburk, wants to remove this provision, as he has said he’s promised to do so, and is standing his ground.
The bill will be vetoed either way, and Funderburk also believes that an override is not going to happen with that clause included. This might be the case, and it might not be. We don’t really know.
We believe the bill would be stronger with the inclusion of this language. But, if insisting on it being included results in the bill being killed before Friday’s deadline, it’s a foolish strategy.
That would mean nothing is gained and the status quo would continue. But as founding father John Dickinson, the “Penman of the Revolution,” taught us, small things grow great by concord. (read more here)
In other words, one step forward in one state leads to another small step in another state. And more steps in other states. But until someone takes that first step, the effort goes nowhere.
Also, keep in mind that HB1439 – with or without this ineligibility clause – is possibly the strongest nullification bill in modern times. It’s certainly stronger than Jefferson’s own Kentucky resolution of 1798, which many believe established the principle of nullification in the first place.
Here are a few key provisions:
1. It takes language directly from Thomas Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution of 1798, holding that acts outside of the constitution are null. “whenever the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
2. It takes more language from Jefferson, holding the position that the states have a duty to determine constitutionality. “If the government, created by compact among the states, was the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers granted to it by the states through the Constitution, the federal government’s discretion, and not the Constitution, would necessarily become the measure of those powers.”
With these important items set forth as a bedrock foundation, the following is also included:
3. Makes law that all federal gun control – past, present and future – is null and void. “All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”
4. Establishes a way to make them null and void in practice. “No person, including any public officer or employee of this state or any political subdivision of this state, shall have authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances, infringing on the right to keep and bear arms.”
Keep in mind that Jefferson’s Kentucky Resolution of 1798 – which has stood as a baseline for nullification for over two centuries – was not even a law, as HB1439 is.
Jefferson’s resolution was that – a resolution, which is not legally binding. It was important as it established a framework; a statement of intent. The process was to pass a resolution, call on other states for support, and then take further action to give life to those principles in law – in a future session.
Missouri’s 2nd Amendment Preservation Act moves past the resolution stage and right to binding law. That makes it – even in a weak form (which it is not) – a stronger nullification bill than the original nullification resolution authored by Thomas Jefferson.
So the question that people quibbling over this need to ask is this:
If it’s stronger than what Thomas Jefferson himself started with, is it possible that it’s not good enough?
The answer is simple: No. Way.
SB613 is a companion 2nd Amendment Preservation Act which already passed the senate. It is sitting on the House 3rd Read calendar. It can be taken up and passed with one vote of the House.
It can also be amended to look just like HB1439, with the Senate amendments. The ineligibility clause can be softened a little — make it 10 years instead of lifetime ineligibility. This could be a good middle ground between the lifetime that Sen. Nieves wants and zero that Rep. Funderburk wants.
Then the bill would go to a final Conference Committee — a public one — so both sides can agree and pass it before Friday.
Call your state rep and senator and urge this action – with a moderate middle ground.