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by Alan Brooks

Back in May, Robert wrote about Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, a bill that attempts to nullify federal gun laws in much the same way that Montana, Kansas, and a handful of other states have done. (Read the full text here) The drafters of the Missouri bill went a little further than some other states by making it a class A misdemeanor to enforce or attempt to enforce any law that infringes on citizens’ right to keep and bear arms and by allowing citizens whose 2A rights are violated to sue for damages. The bill was vetoed by Democrat Governor Jay Nixon, but today legislators overrode that veto. . .

Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte and St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson don’t seem to think that’s such a good idea. In a joint blog post with Police Executive Research Forum director, Chuck Wexler, the chief LEOs said:

The outcome of this absurd legislation is that our communities will be less safe if criminals are not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Other states recognize the value of partnerships between local police and federal agencies. If Missouri shuts down these partnerships because of a decision made by legislators, in effect we will be encouraging criminals to come to Missouri.

Or perhaps discouraging criminals, since the chances of having a personal ventilation system violently installed while committing a crime are going to go up with more Missourians packing. Chiefs Forte and Dotson attempt to back up their hoplophobic claim by pointing to a joint St. Louis PD/ATF operation earlier this year that they say netted more than 200 arrests and 265 firearms confiscated. What they fail to mention is that, of the 200+ individuals arrested during the four-month, $200 million dollar operation, only 159 people were actually charged with a crime and some of those charges are certain to be thrown out because of entrapment violations by federal officers. That’s a bill to the tax payers of over $750,000 per gun taken off the streets and the tactics used in these ATF stings have already been referred to as “disreputable” (pdf) (even when they weren’t clearly cases of entrapment) by Judge Richard Posner of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. So apparently local law enforcement in Missouri can’t effectively enforce the law without federal agents breaking the law on their behalf in order to reduce crime in a state whose murder rate is less than half that of the city of Chicago’s and places 39th out of 50 on the Brady Campaign’s gun control ranking. We’ll see how it goes for the Show-Me-State’s new 2nd Amendment law when it inevitably ends up in court. The bill now heads to the Senate to finalize the override, and opinions are divided as to the outcome there.  Stay tuned.

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  1. Look at this Tweet:

    Alexandra ********@aliemalie 56m
    So the House voted to criminalize the actions of law enforcement and first responders on 9/11. Sick. #hb436 #moleg

    Yes that was on Twitter, go ahead and look it up. Next level hoplophobia. Its 9/11, demonize it by somehow figuring out a way to involve 9/11.

    • Omg another one:

      Hanna Battah ‏@HannaBattah 1h
      Journalist by me is wondering how he’ll sign off on air if reporting registered gun owners’ names becomes a fed. offense. #HB436 @MDNnews

      I think she is serious. Federal offense for breaking a state law. hahahaha

  2. It’s all going to be a moot point when the courts invoke the supremacy clause thus nullifying the law. A state can’t make it a crime for Federal officials to enforce Federal law, now matter what the Tea Partiers say.

    We shouldn’t be wasting our time with pointless legislation like this. We have better battles to be fighting.

      • There’s a gross misunderstanding of the Constitution and the law on display here.

        When this goes to court they aren’t going to be evaluating the question of whether a particular Federal gun control law is constitutional. They’re going to be reviewing the question of whether a state government may imprison a Federal agent for enforcing Federal law. That cases immediately goes in favor of the Federal government, because the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution says so. You know, the Constitution, that thing we’re always talking about revering about all else.

        It would be one thing if a state simply refused to have state and local police officers enforce Federal law. That’s what Colorado and Washington are doing with marijuana legalization. What they aren’t doing is threatening to have the local fuzz get into a shootout with the Feds in order to keep them from doing their jobs.

        Likewise the states are free to sue the Federal government, to attempt to get laws overturned as unconstitutional.

        There are ways of doing this that aren’t pants-on-head retarded.

        • “They’re going to be reviewing the question of whether a state government may imprison a Federal agent for enforcing Federal law. That cases immediately goes in favor of the Federal government, because the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution says so.”

          Let me try to understand this because this is obviously a complicated situation that is going to make a lot of lawyers a lot of money, but…

          A federal court is going to review whether a state government can imprison a Federal agent for (attempting) to enforce a federal law that the state believes to be in violation of the Second Amendment of The Constitution of the United States of America because the supremacy clause of The Constitution of the United States of America says that the federal agents have the authority to enforce blatantly unconstitutional federal laws just because they have been passed by Congress, approved by the president and not successfully challenged in the Supreme Court, YET?

          So, what, we should all just roll over and expose our tummies when the feds pass any legislation whatsoever, no matter how it violates specific constitutional protections, until someone manages to get it reviewed by SCOTUS? THAT seems like a very bad idea.

          How exactly does that square with the simple phrase “…shall not be infringed”?

        • “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States WHICH SHALL BE MADE IN PURSUANCE THEREOF; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, 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.”

          While you may be correct in assuming they will use this, the capitalized text indicates their usage would be illegal, as is much the federal government does with impunity because everyone likes their brains inside their skulls and their blood inside their bodies too much to try and go against it. So you’re half right. It might get used, but it would be technically incorrect according to the wording of the clause you cite, as the laws that are nullified here were not passed in pursuance of the United States Constitution. As a matter of fact that is impossible as said laws directly contravene several Amendments to the Constitution. The supremacy clause in fact already nullifies the laws Missouri is attempting to nullify here, the feds just prefer not to follow the law most times. The supremacy is not that of the feds, but of the Constitution. If the feds violate the Constitution, they are in violation of the supremacy clause. The fact that they continue to ignore the law has no bearing on whether or not their acts are illegal, they simply continue to be illegal regardless of any attempt to stop them.

          I hope this simplifies it enough for you.

    • well, the same thing has happened in other states. This just helps get the 8th circuit involved and let’s it go to SCOTUS for a ruling on the field.

      • Wrong. The legal question will be not whether the law the Federal agent was attempting to enforce was constitutional or not. The legal question at matter in the case will be whether the states may prosecute a Federal agent for enforcing Federal law. The United States Constitution is quite clear on the matter, the Federal Constitution and the statutes and treaties implemented thereof are the supreme law of the land. Period.

        • By enforcing an unconstitutional law, a federal agent is breaking the law (as well as his oath), and should be subject to arrest. In other words, state police would be arresting a law breaker of the highest order. I know the federal courts won’t see it that way, but the federal government has raped the constitution so much that someone needs to call them on it.

          Also Alexander Hamilton had this to say about supremacy, “but the laws of Congress are restricted to a certain sphere [the constitution], and when they depart from this sphere, they are no longer supreme or binding.”

          I am sure that we can all agree that the federal government has passed beyond the sphere of power set in the constitution.

        • If the federal constitution (I’m pretty sure that grammatically the federal should not be capitalized), more specifically The Constitution of the United States of America, is the supreme law of the land, as are treaties, etc. enacted under its auspices, why then is the Second Amendment not also considered the Supreme Law of the Land and used to automatically over-ride any state law that violates our right to keep and bear arms?

          There is an inherent contradiction here that is not so easily dismissed as simply saying, “Any law passed by Congress and signed by the president is automatically the de facto law of the land under the supremacy clause of The Constitution of the United States of America, but the Second Amendment is not and we can pass any sort of infringement of your Second Amendment rights that we can get away with and you can’t do squat about it.”

          I don’t buy it. This is ALL about the federal government over-stepping their constitutional authority and then hiding behind the supremacy clause to prevent being called on it. What’s more, in my opinion, since every member of Congress, the Senate, SCOTUS and the president have sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, any legislation passed, approved and allowed to stand, is a direct violation of that oath and the Second Amendment injunction “…shall not be infringed.” IN those cases civil disobedience and state nullification should begin IMMEDIATELY and continue until the Supreme Court either declares the law unconstitutional or says to the plaintiffs, “Fvck you.”

        • You might want to re-read the “supremacy clause”:

          This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;

          So all laws made “in pursuance thereof [the Constitution]” are the supreme law of the land. Any laws not made in pursuance thereof are null and void, as long as We The People are willing to stand up make it so. I recommend the book “Nullification” by Thomas Woods, and the documentary Nullification: The Rightful Remedy.

        • ” as long as We The People are willing to stand up make it so.”

          That’s what it comes down to. The federal government will never scale back it’s own power to comply with constitutional limits voluntarily. There needs to be outright (legal) force applied by the states. If enough states stand up to the feds, then they will have no choice but to back down.

    • Others have touched on this but not quite as directly:

      It would require a judicial juggling act par excellence to consider the state law’s constitutionality without first asserting that the law it nullified was it’s self constitutional. In fact, although the case would be filed under the auspices of the supremacy clause since (presumably) the feds would be doing the suing, it’s almost inconceivable that they could make an intelligible argument without having as a premise the law being nullified was in fact constitutional to begin with.

      Even if they somehow could make such an argument the most obvious defense to it available to is argue the unconstitutionality of the law being nullified, thus ensuring that the court would first have to rule on the underlying law before proceeding to the supremacy argument because if the underlying law being nullified isn’t constitutional then ipso facto it wasn’t a law in the first place and there is no argument to be presented against it’s nullification.

      This is actually ground breaking stuff and one heck of a play my Mo. Either the feds can avoid it like plague, in which case Mo has de facto successfully nullified a federal law, or the feds must sue, which virtually guarantees the Suprems will be taking a crack at the federal laws Mo is attempting to nullify.

      The only people who stand to lose anything in all this are the feds and the antis. What exactly isn’t there to like about it?

    • jlr84 – you need to get your Constituional “knowledge” from “What the Constitution Should Say” by Baraka Hussein Obuma, Prevous lawless actions of the supreme court remain lawless regardless of how long ago it began.

      Go find Mark Stein’s new proposal “Liberty Amendments” Well reasoned and badly needed.

  3. Basic 2nd and 10th amendment violation protection here. Feds constantly violate the 2nd and MO wants to use the 10th to protect their citizens.

  4. “having a personal ventilation system violently installed” = best phrase of the day.

    It might be problematic or merely symbolic, but it’s high time we saw someone push back against the increasingly totalitarian behavior of the federal government.

    • Actually, they are redundant. If the law that was nullified was a constitutional law then the nullification law would be unconstitutional. However, unconstitutional laws are invalid in and of themselves. The nullification laws seem to merely point out that fact. I believe Hamilton hit on this in some of the federalist papers.

      • So are we to believe that the federal government can pass an unconstitutional law and then send out federal agents to enforce it without being challenged in any way? We’re all just supposed to shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh well, it’s the law?” Wasn’t that the sort of actions that got us all so pissed off at England a couple hundred years ago?

        That’s like saying if a policeman comes to you and tells you to do something that you KNOW is illegal, but he also tells you it’s okay to do it because he has given you the authority, you should never question him and go ahead and break the law.

        Somehow I recall in the Army this being referred to as a duty to disobey an illegal order. I can’t see how this situation is any different, except in scale.

        • It ain’t unconstitutional until a court declares it to be so. A federal employee has a qualified immunity from prosecution in performing an act pursuant to a presumptively valid law. Therefore these state laws that allow a prosecution of a federal officer for enforcing a federal law are unconstitutional.

          But the point is moot–for now. The veto override failed.

        • NO – A law (or “executive order” or regulation) is unconstitutional because it is unconsitutional. It exists due to the unlawful (UNCONSITIUTIONAL) action of the legislature and/or the executive. The Judical branch may or may not “fix” such lawless actions.

          Many times the US Supreme Court has responded to unconsitiutional actions by the Congress and/or President by also acting in illegal/unconsitiutional manner or by seizing power not theirs to have. That the Supreme Court acts in a paticular way, or fails to act, does not make such proper (or Constitutional). That the Court established an iunconstitutional precedent it remains lawless. Many, if not of the major decisions of the Supreme Count in the last 100years (era of the progressive) are unconstitiutional/lawless.

          Some of you sound like you attended Obumas college coourse in Constitutional law. Can you image spending $78,324 to attend the Univ of Chicago School of Law and geting OB as your instructor on Consitutional Law? How about Hilary Clinton on Executive Leadership. Joe Biden for Firearms Instruction?. Putin on carring for fuzzy little kittens.

          Get “The Liberty Amendments” $17.

  5. It is funny listening to this live. Sen. Chapelle-Nadal (a Black liberal from STL) is attacking the liberals in the House for being elitists and not doing anything to stop black on black crime. She is throwing love to the republican who promulgated the bill in the senate, but said she will vote against it for the 1st amendment issues). Now another Senator (a former gang member), Nasheed, is asking her “WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO HELP THEM??”

    Listen Live: mms://


  6. I guarantee that if Missouri had spent that $200 Million on training and arming their citizens (at no charge since the citizens already paid that $200 Million in taxes), that would have made their communities much safer than trying to imprison a handful of criminals.

    We really need more of a business approach to government expenditures. Before someone approved the joint operation, someone should have asked three critical questions:
    (1) How much will the operation cost?
    (2) How much do the participants expect to reduce crime?
    (3) How much would the participants reduce crime if they spent that money a different way … like training and arming citizens?

    This is the problem with academia and government: they expect to be paid for being busy; whereas people who work in business expect to be paid for actually improving their customer’s lives.

  7. “The outcome of this absurd legislation is that our communities will be less
    safe if criminals are not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Knowing that federal prosecutions of gun crimes are abysmal at best,
    I wonder if Missouri’s prosecution and conviction rate is any better.
    And for those convicted, I wonder how many are even given a minimum
    jail sentence vs probation.


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