News Column

Missouri Gov. Vetoes Gun Bill

July 5, 2013

Saying Missouri cannot overrule federal law, Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed a bill that sought to make it a crime for federal agents to enforce gun control laws.

In a lengthy veto message issued today, Nixon traces the origin and nearly 200 years of legal battles over the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which makes the federal constitution, laws and treaties "the supreme law of the land."

In addition to conflicting with that clause, Nixon said the bill passed by the Legislature would have violated the constitutional right to free speech by making it a crime to publish the names of people who own guns.

That provision could have sent reporters to jail for a year for printing photos of local gun rights rallies or young Missourians posing with their first turkey or deer, Nixon said.

The Republican-led Legislature may try to override the Democratic governor's veto in September.

The bill passed in May on votes of 116-38 in the House and 26-6 in the Senate --more than the two-thirds majorities needed. An override would require 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters, said today that he will discuss the options with fellow Republicans at their summer caucus.

Funderburk said the bill does not violate the supremacy clause but rather, "extends the protection for a constitutional right, the Second Amendment to the Constitution."

"I know the votes are there" to override, he said. Alternatively, he said legislators could pass a revised bill in January, clarifying the provisions about publishing the names of gun owners.

"There's some cause for concern that there may be a problem there," Funderburk said.

The bill also would lower to 19 from 21 the age for people to obtain permits to carry concealed guns. Another provision would let school districts designate teachers who hold such permits and receive extra training as "school protection officers" who could carry guns in schools.

While vetoing Funderburk's bill, Nixon signed a bill that will allow state employees to keep guns in their vehicles while on property owned or leased by the state. That measure also allows fire chiefs to carry concealed guns.

(The vetoed bill is HB436. The gun bill Nixon signed is HB533.)

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Source: Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 2013


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