If President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats end up getting gun control legislation passed and signed, don’t expect law enforcement in Missouri to enforce it.
On Thursday, Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced he would sign the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” a piece of legislation state conservatives have been pushing for almost a decade, according to the Kansas City Star. The Biden administration’s renewed push for gun control laws renewed interest in the bill, which passed the state Senate by a 24-10 vote and the state House of Representatives by a 110-43 vote.
The legislation says federal gun laws not on the state books would be considered “invalid” in the state; while liberal critics have pointed to the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, which says the Constitution and federal laws are the “supreme Law of the Land” and can’t be superseded by state law, Republicans have said the bill merely codifies legal discretion in matters of gun law.
“We’re just simply saying we’re not going to lift a finger to enforce their rules,” said Republican state Sen. Eric Burlison, according to the Kansas City Star.
Parson, a former sheriff, will sign the bill at a Saturday ceremony at a shooting range in Lee’s Summit.
“The Governor is aware of the legal implications of this bill, but also that, now more than ever, we must define a limited role for federal government in order to protect citizen’s rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution,” said Kelli Jones, a spokeswoman for Gov. Parson, in a statement.
“This is about empowering people to protect themselves and acknowledging the federalist constitutional structure of our government,” she added.
According to the Webster County Citizen, Gov. Parson’s signature on the bill will make Missouri the 13th state which prohibits law enforcement officials from enforcing federal gun laws that aren’t on state books.
The bill, sponsored by GOP state Rep. Jered Taylor, singles out several specific “federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, rules, and regulations [that] shall be considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by Amendment II of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri.”
Any federal law imposing fees or taxes on guns and ammunition “that might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens” wouldn’t be enforced under the new law. Neither would the registration or tracking of firearms, ammunition or firearm accessories — or ownership of any of these things. Federal laws imposing limitations on the sale or transfer of firearms would also be unenforceable in Missouri, as would any law ordering the confiscation of firearms.
However, state and local law enforcement in Missouri will be barred from working with federal officials on any gun law that isn’t on the state books. Furthermore, no former federal agents who enforced those laws could be hired by local police. The bill allows those who claim their Second Amendment rights were violated by local police enforcing federal gun laws to sue for up to $50,000.
“We are doing this bill because the Second Amendment is under attack,” Rep. Taylor said when the bill passed in May.
“It’s under attack by the Democrats, specifically the Biden administration and the Democrats in Washington.”
While the Biden administration made gun control an agenda item at the beginning of the administration, serious efforts seem to be stuck in first gear.
On the third anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, the president announced three gun control initiatives his administration would be pursuing: banning so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, instituting a universal background check system and ending impunity for gun manufacturers.
For right now, this is very much a back-burner item, however. Even the president’s infrastructure bill, which could theoretically be passed on a party-line vote in the Senate via the budget reconciliation process, has been held up as the administration tries to find middle ground with Republicans.
The White House’s proposed immigration overhaul is so stuck that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is actively searching for ways to fit it in under budget reconciliation, too, according to a New York Times report last month — a move which the Senate parliamentarian would likely take a dim view of.
Meanwhile, the two swing moderate votes in the Democrat caucus in the upper house — Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — are still publicly refusing to budge on any proposal to do away with the filibuster, meaning none of these agenda items will likely be rammed through without Republican support.
One can’t count on that state of affairs to persist, however. While laws like this can’t stop federal agents from enforcing these laws in the state if they so choose, there’s no reason for states to aid them in abrogating our Second Amendment rights.
Missouri is merely telling the Biden administration and the Democratic Party two words they need to hear: Molon labe. Come and take them.
If the left keeps treating the words “shall not be infringed” as a suggestion — and a bad one at that — they won’t be the last state to send this message, either.