Our Opinion: Governor shoots down ‘extreme example’

News Tribune editorial

At the pace he is setting, Gov. Jay Nixon may wear out his veto stamp before the deadline to act on legislation ends later this month.

Among his many vetoes is rejection of a proposal that would have criminalized federal enforcement of federal gun regulations that “infringe on the people’s right to bear arms.”

The proposal was a clear illustration of the escalating constitutional conflict between states’ rights, outlined in the 10th Amendment, and the federal supremacy clause, contained in Article VI.

The Associated Press, in a story published in the News Tribune on June 22, focused on increasing efforts among the states to nullify or augment federal laws.

The AP story led with the now-vetoed proposed gun legislation, which it characterized as “perhaps the most extreme example of a states’ rights movement that has been spreading across the nation.”

The provision criminalizing federal enforcement, however, even raised doubts among supporters of states’ rights.

Later in the AP story, the executive director of a group that promotes states’ rights said: “There’s no federal court in the country that going to say that a state can pull this off.”

We agree. The criminalization provision was a proverbial poison pill in this proposal.

The governor also agreed. In a news release explaining his veto, he referenced the supremacy clause and said the Missouri proposal “would have violated several provisions of the U.S. Constitution.”

In the same message, however, he also emphasized he signed separate legislation pertaining to “responsible gun ownership.”

He added: “As a gun owner and hunter, I support the Second Amendment rights of Missouri and oppose efforts to undermine them.”

The governor wants it understood that a Second Amendment supporter can oppose an “extreme example” of gun rights legislation.

We’ll second that.

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