by Dr. Eowyn
I thank God that our Founding Fathers, whose greatest fear was a tyrannical government, had the wisdom and foresight to institute curbs on government power in the form of numerous checks and balances.
One of those checks is the creation of a federal republic, in which the constituent geographic states have their separate powers — a founding principle that is enshrined in the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which spells out the powers of the constituent (geographical) states and of the people.
Unlike centralized polities like the UK and China wherein the central or national government holds all power, and whatever powers regional/local governments have are delegated to them, in a federation the powers of regional/local governments are not derived from the central government and, therefore, cannot be taken away by the central government. In the U.S. federal republic, as stipulated in the U.S. Constitution, it is the American people who grant separate powers to the federal government in Washington, D.C., and to the 50 state governments.
There is a bill in the Missouri state legislature (General Assembly) which, if passed, will ban all federal gun-control laws by preventing all state agencies and their employees from enforcing any federal law that infringes the Second Amendment in any way, including gun registrations, fees, fines, licenses and bans.
Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Pogue (R), 37, a Christian and a contractor/carpenter by profession, and co-sponsored by 4 other Republican representatives, House Bill 786: Second Amendment Preservation Act was introduced in the Missouri House of Representatives on January 31, 2019.
HB 786’s companion bill in the state Senate is SB 367, which was introduced by Sen. Eric Burlison (R) on February 7, 2019.
HB 786 begins with a powerful ringing reiteration of states’ rights and the limits on the federal government’s power which moved me to tears. The entire bill deserves your reading, and should be recommended to the legislatures of the other 49 states.
HB 786 states:
2. The general assembly finds and declares that:
(1) The general assembly of the state of Missouri is firmly resolved to support and defend the United States Constitution against every aggression, whether foreign or domestic, and is duty bound to oppose every infraction of those principles which constitute the basis of the Union of the States because only a faithful observance of those principles can secure the nation’s existence and the public happiness;
(2) Acting through the United States Constitution, the people of the several states created the federal government to be their agent in the exercise of a few defined powers, while reserving to the state governments the power to legislate on matters which concern the lives, liberties, and properties of citizens in the ordinary course of affairs;
(3) The limitation of the federal government’s power is affirmed under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which defines the total scope of federal power as being that which has been delegated by the people of the several states to the federal government, and all power not delegated to the federal government in the United States Constitution is reserved to the states respectively or to the people themselves;
(4) If the federal government assumes powers that the people did not grant it in the United States Constitution, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force;
(5) The several states of the United States of America respect the proper role of the federal government but reject the proposition that such respect requires unlimited submission. If the government, created by a compact among the states, was the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers granted to it by the states through the United States Constitution, the federal government’s discretion, and not the United States Constitution, would necessarily become the measure of those powers. To the contrary, as in all other cases of compacts among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself as to if infractions of the compact have occurred, as well as to determine the mode and measure of redress. Although the several states have granted supremacy to laws and treaties made under the powers granted in the United States Constitution, such supremacy does not extend to various federal statutes, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, or other actions which restrict or prohibit the manufacture, ownership, and use of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition exclusively within the borders of Missouri; such statutes, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, and other actions exceed the powers granted to the federal government except to the extent they are necessary and proper for governing and regulating land and naval forces of the United States or for organizing, arming, and disciplining militia forces actively employed in the service of the United States Armed Forces;
(6) The people of the several states have given Congress the power “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states”, but “regulating commerce” does not include the power to limit citizens’ right to keep and bear arms in defense of their families, neighbors, persons, or property, or to dictate as to what sort of arms and accessories law-abiding Missourians may buy, sell, exchange, or otherwise possess within the borders of this state;
(7) The people of the several states have also granted Congress the power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imports, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States” and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the United States Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof”. These constitutional provisions merely identify the means by which the federal government may execute its limited powers and shall not to be so construed to grant unlimited power because to do so would be to destroy the carefully constructed equilibrium between the federal and state governments. Consequently, the general assembly rejects any claim that the taxing and spending powers of Congress can be used to diminish in any way the right of the people to keep and bear arms;
(8) The people of Missouri have vested the general assembly with the authority to regulate the manufacture, possession, exchange, and use of firearms within the borders of this state, subject only to the limits imposed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Missouri Constitution; and
(9) The general assembly of the state of Missouri strongly promotes responsible gun ownership, including parental supervision of minors in the proper use, storage, and ownership of all firearms, the prompt reporting of stolen firearms, and the proper enforcement of all state gun laws. The general assembly of the state of Missouri hereby condemns any unlawful transfer of firearms and the use of any firearm in any criminal or unlawful activity.
1.420. The following federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations shall be considered infringements on the people’s right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri, within the borders of this state including, but not limited to:
(1) Any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories,or ammunition not common to all other goods and services which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(2) Any registering or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(3) Any registering or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition which might reasonably be expected to create a chilling effect on the purchase or ownership of those items by law-abiding citizens;
(4) Any act forbidding the possession, ownership, or use or transfer of a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by law-abiding citizens; and
(5) Any act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories,or ammunition from law-abiding citizens.
1.430. All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, regardless if enacted before or after the Second Amendment Preservation Act, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
1.440. It shall be the duty of the courts and law enforcement agencies of this state to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms within the borders of this state and to protect these rights from the infringements defined under section 1.420.
1.450. No person, including any public officer or employee of this state or any political subdivision of this state, shall have the authority to enforce or attempt to enforce any federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, regulations, statutes, or ordinances infringing on the right to keep and bear arms as defined under section 1.410.
1.460. 1. Any entity or person who knowingly, as defined under section 562.016, violates section 1.450 or otherwise knowingly deprives a citizen of Missouri of the rights or privileges ensured by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States or Article I, Section 23 of the Constitution of Missouri, while acting under the color of any state or federal law, shall be liable to the injured party in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.
2. In such actions, the court may award the prevailing party, other than the state of Missouri or any political subdivision of the state, reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
3. Sovereign, official, or qualified immunity shall not be an affirmative defense in such actions.
1.470. 1. Any person while acting as an official, agent, employee, or deputy of the government of the United States, or while otherwise acting under the color of federal law while within the borders of this state, who knowingly, as defined under section 562.016:
(1) Enforces or attempts to enforce any of the infringementsidentified in section 1.410; or
(2) Gives material aid and support to the efforts of others who enforce or attempt to enforce any of the infringements identified in section 1.410 shall be permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer or to supervise law enforcement officers for the state or any political subdivision of the state.
2. Neither the state nor any political subdivision of the state shall employ as a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers any person who is ineligible to serve in such capacity under this section.
3. Any person residing in or conducting business in a jurisdiction who believes that a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers of such jurisdiction has taken action that would render that person ineligible under this section to serve in such capacity shall have standing to pursue an action for declaratory judgment in the circuit court of the county in which the action allegedly occurred, or in the circuit court of Cole County, with respect to the employment eligibility of the law enforcement officer or the supervisor of law enforcement officers under this section.
4. If a court determines that a law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers has taken any action that would render him or her ineligible to serve in that capacity under this section:
(1) The law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers shall immediately be terminated from his or her position; and
(2) The jurisdiction that had employed the ineligible law enforcement officer or supervisor of law enforcement officers shall be required to pay the court costs and attorney’s fees associated with the declaratory judgment action that resulted in the finding of ineligibility.
5. Nothing in this section shall preclude a person’s right of appeal or remediation, as provided under chapter 590.
1.480. For the purposes of sections 1.410 to 1.485, the term “law-abiding citizen” shall mean a person who is not otherwise precluded under state law from possessing a firearm and shall not be construed to include anyone who is not legally present in the United States or the state of Missouri.
1.485. If any provision of sections 1.410 to 1.485 or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such determination shall not affect the provisions or applications ofsections1 .410 to 1.485, which may be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and the provisions of sections 1.410 to 1.485 are severable.
Republicans control both the Senate and House of Representatives of the Missouri General Assembly, so HB 786 stands a good chance to pass:
- 24 Republicans vs. 10 Democrats in the Senate.
- 116 Republicans vs. 47 Democrats in the House of Representatives.
According to Max Headroom of The Sentinel, a former version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act, SB 613, was passed by the state legislature in 2014, but vetoed by then Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Demonrat.
Headroom notes that the current Second Amendment Preservation Act (HB 786, SB 367) faces heavy opposition from two surprising groups:
- Missouri’s law enforcement community, “which should be no surprise, as Missouri law enforcement agencies raked in $34,462,153 in forfeitures from 2001 to 2008, according to a report by the Institute of Justice.”
- The National Rifles Association (NRA) because anti-gun Sen. Jamilah Nasheed had tried to sneak language into SB 367 that would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm to police no more than 72 hours after the discovery of the theft, or face a $1,000 fine and a misdemeanor charge. However, the stolen firearm reporting clause was removed from the actual text of the bill.