Our Opinion: Commendable, courageous votes
Friday, September 13, 2013
The Missouri Senate failed by a single vote to override a veto and enact a duplicative, nonsensical, contradictory law relating to gun rights.
The right to bear arms is a federal measure outlined in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
A Missouri law championed by Republican majorities in the House and Senate would have criminalized federal enforcement of federal gun regulations that “infringe on the people’s right to bear arms.” It subsequently was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, won a veto override Wednesday in the House and suffered a narrow loss in the Senate
Note the language does not simply prohibit, it makes it a crime for a federal law enforcement officer to enforce federal law.
The proposal not only violates the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause — that federal law trumps state law when the two conflict — it creates complications for state and local law enforcement officials involved with federal operations and would impede gun owners from having their names published, either for accomplishments or allegations.
The motivation for this type of extreme legislation is deplorable.
First, it panders to and enflames fears that the federal government is an enemy that will not uphold its own Constitution.
Second, it inflates the hubris and egos of elected officials who will claim in future campaigns that they sponsored and supported rights already codified not only in law, but in the U.S. Constitution.
And, in addition to being unconstitutional, the law created mischief not only for state and local law enforcement officers, but for gun owners and applicants.
Most frightening is the veto override succeeded in the House and failed by only a single vote in the Senate.
The four Republicans who crossed party lines deserve to be commended for voting to sustain the veto.
In the Senate, they are Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey of St. Charles and Floor Leader Ron Richard of Joplin.
Jefferson City’s own Rep. Jay Barnes and Rep. Noel Torpey of Independence cast the only GOP no votes in the House.
These lawmakers demonstrated courage and conviction.
They didn’t vote against gun rights or gun ownership. They voted to protect the Constitution from a spurious assault. For that, they deserve to be commended.
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