Bill Would Have Challenged Federal Gun Laws

A local state senator and representative strongly disagree with Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that would have disregarded federal gun laws in Missouri.

State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, said the U.S. Constitution “expressly forbids” the federal government from getting involved in gun issues.

While Nixon claims to be a supporter of the Second Amendment, his veto of the bill ascribed his name to “big government,” Curtman asserted.

Likewise, State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, said he is upset that the governor would veto one of the strongest pieces of Second Amendment legislation in Missouri history and then claim to be a supporter of gun rights.

“You can’t have it both ways,” Nieves said.

The governor needs to be honest with the people of Missouri about why he vetoed the Second Amendment Preservation Act, Nieves said.

Curtman and Nieves both think there is a chance that the Legislature can override the veto in September.

The bill said federal laws that infringe on people’s rights to bear arms are null and void in Missouri.

It also said that federal officials who attempt to infringe on law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms would be guilty of a misdemeanor.

“I think the bill makes good Constitutional sense,” Curtman said.

But in a letter accompanying his veto, Nixon wrote that the bill violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution. The governor wrote that the supremacy clause gives precedence to the laws of a nation over individual states.

Nieves said the governor is “absolutely, unequivocally wrong” about what the supremacy clause says.

The supremacy clause only applies to matters that the federal government has control over, Nieves said.

The federal government does not have the authority to regulate how states handle their own gun laws, Nieves added.

The Second Amendment states that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon, Nieves said, adding that the country’s Founding Fathers were very concerned about this.

The federal government is continually stepping outside its bounds, and states must “draw a line in the sand,” Nieves asserted.

Nieves was the author of the version of the bill that ended up getting passed and ultimately vetoed.

He noted that the bill passed with an excess of a super majority in the House and Senate. This shows that the legislation represented the will of more than two-thirds of the state Legislature, Nieves said.

Curtman said the bill brings gun issues to a more local level instead of being handled by Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.

Curtman said he thinks the governor is a “bright” attorney, but the two have a fundamental disagreement over what the Constitution says about the right to bear arms.

Other local state legislators also supported the bill including State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan and State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair. They could not be reached for comment.