Friday, July 5, 2013

Jay Nixon splits the difference on gun bills

Posted By on Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Nixon vetos one gun bill, passes another
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  • Nixon vetoes one gun bill, passes another.

Missouri's General Assembly passed a bumper crop of bad legislation earlier this year, and Gov. Jay Nixon has responded by firing up his veto pen.

Today Nixon struck down a repellent gun law that was hyped as a measure to protect Missourians' basic rights but revealed legislators' habits of cherry-picking the parts of the Constitution they like and ignoring the rest.

So House Bill 436 has gone up in flames, unless lawmakers can pull enough mules to secure a veto override.

The bill was one of those nullification laws, which states like Kansas have passed, that threaten to charge federal agents who try to enforce federal gun laws with a misdemeanor.

Of course, such nullification laws are seen almost universally as unconstitutional. Legal precedent makes it clear that federal laws trump state laws.

One of the Easter eggs within House Bill 436 was a measure criminalizing the publication of the name or other identifying information of any Missouri gun owner.

"In fact, under this bill, newspaper editors around the state that annually publish photos of proud young Missourians who harvest their first turkey or deer could be charged with a crime," Nixon said in his veto message.

Nixon's message outed himself as a proud gun owner, flouting the anti-First Amendment portion of House Bill 436.

But on the same day that he kicked House Bill 436 to the gutter, he signed a different gun law.

House Bill 533, now law, allows state employees to keep firearms in their cars while parked on state property and allows fire chiefs to carry concealed firearms.

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