Missouri Gun Activists Make Final Push

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri gun activists planned a Wednesday morning Second Amendment rally to make a final push for a bill passed by both chambers in the legislature.

Gun Rights Across America sponsored the rally, which began at 9 a.m.

Organizers planned the rally to drum up final support for House Bill 436, otherwise known as the Second Amendment Preservation Act.

Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, spoke at the rally and said state government has forgotten its most important job, which he said is to protect the freedoms of citizens.

State lawmakers began debate in full chamber sessions at noon Wednesday as part of their annual veto session. House Republican leaders said the bill would be brought up on the floor as part of Wednesday afternoons' proceedings.

Gun supporters are looking for lawmakers to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the bill.  Nixon said he vetoed it because it would violate the U.S. Constitution and pose a public safety threat.

The bill has gained national attention because some have called it a particularly aggressive effort to challenge federal gun laws.

Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Charles County, sponsored the bill. It declares that all past, present and future federal laws or regulations infringing on Second Amendment rights will be interpreted as "null" and "void" in Missouri.

Cato Institute Chairman Robert Levy wrote a New York Times editorial on Sept. 3 and said based on precedent, states have limits on what federal laws they can challenge.

"I fully support those who see risks in the expansion of federal power, particularly when it comes to intrusions on basic rights like gun ownership," Levy wrote. "However, to defend those rights, we can't begin by flouting the very document that inspires that fight in the first place: the Constitution."

Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster issued a legal opinion Sept. 3 and wrote the bill raises several legal questions. 

"There is no doubt that HB 436 will be closely scrutinized by the federal courts, and some provisions of the law may be declared unconstitutional," Koster wrote.

Koster said federal courts would likely strike down the nullification provisions of the bill, but he wrote the courts would leave parts of the bill intact which would make it harder for federal and state officials to cooperate, grant criminals a right to sue police officers for their enforcement of the law and create confusion in Missouri's concealed-carry law.

The bill passed the House with 116 votes. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, will need 109 votes to override the veto in that chamber. Senate leaders told KOMU 8 News Tuesday the bill has enough support for an override vote in the Senate.

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