JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri's house speaker said Friday he would challenge Gov. Jay Nixon's decision to veto a bill that would have attempted to nullify federal firearms law in the state of Missouri.
On Friday, Nixon vetoed House Bill 436, which would have made it a crime for federal agents to try to enforce gun control laws in this state. The proposed bill would have made it illegal to publish the names of gun owners. Also, any federal agent who attempted to enforce federal gun laws that would "infringe on people's rights to bear arms," would have been charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. This bill passed in the Senate by a vote of 26-6, and in the House of Representatives by a vote of 118-36 in May, both of which are veto-proof majorities.
Nixon said House Bill 436 would have violated the U.S. Constitution by seeking to nullify federal laws and infringe upon Missourians' freedom of speech. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, commonly referred to as the Supremacy Clause, gives federal laws precedence over those of the states.
"This unnecessary and unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal laws would have violated Missourians' First Amendment right to free speech," Nixon said. "In fact, under this bill, newspaper editors around the state that annually publish photos of proud young Missourians who harvest their first turkey or deer could be charged with a crime."
House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said he wants to override Nixon's veto when the September session takes place, according to the Associated Press. Lawmakers need a two-thirds majority in both the house and senate to override Nixon's veto. Both chambers exceeded that margin when they passed the bill this spring. Jones expressed some shock over Nixon's veto and said he believes there is a supermajority of lawmakers who want to pass House Bill 436. Dave Muntzel, R-Boonville, said in a phone interview he supports Jones' position.
Nixon released a veto message explaining why he decided to veto House Bill 436.