Springfield News Leader- A Facebook discussion turned into a sprawling online feud over the weekend when a Missouri state senator and a former Springfield political candidate went at each other over a gun-rights bill that was defeated in the legislature last month.

In one comment on the Locke and Smith Legislative Review page, Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, called Tom Martz, owner of Mozark Environmental who unsuccessfully ran for state representative in 2012, the “Biggest Blow Hard, Lowest Value Person” he has ever dealt with.

Earlier, Martz announced on the page the Lock and Smith Foundation’s finalists for an award honoring Missouri lawmakers who vote for limited government and expanded freedom.

Nieves was one of five finalists in the Missouri Senate. Commenters on the announcement began debating whether lawmakers who voted for House Bill 436, which would have criminalized the enforcement of federal gun law and banned the publication of the names of gun owners, should be considered for the award because of potential constitutional problems with the legislation.

Nieves was the Senate handler of the bill, which was narrowly defeated last month during veto session when Republican Senate leadership voted with Democrats in blocking a veto override of the bill.

The feud began when Nieves posted that if Locke and Smith believes the bill violates the Missouri or U.S. constitutions, the organization should take him out of the running for the award.

Read the rest of the Springfield News Leader's story here.