Missouri governor vetoes bill that would have nullified federal gun laws
July 5th, 2013
04:26 PM ET
9 years ago

Missouri governor vetoes bill that would have nullified federal gun laws

(CNN) - Missouri's Democratic governor vetoed legislation Friday that sought to make federal gun laws unenforceable in the state.

In a carefully worded statement that prominently addressed his pro-gun bona fides in a state Mitt Romney carried 54% to President Obama's 44% in 2012, Gov. Jay Nixon argued that the legislation violated a provision in the U.S. Constitution called the Supremacy Clause. The Supremacy Clause gives preference to federal laws over state laws.

Called House Bill 436, the legislation cleared the Republican-controlled state Senate and House with huge majorities, 26-6 in the Senate and 116-38 in the House. It sought to make any federal legislation past, present and future "that infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment" null and void in the state of Missouri.

Multiple states like Ohio, Minnesota and Texas have pursued similar bills in recent months in reaction to attempts at federal gun control legislation in the wake of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. That legislative push fell short of the 60 votes it needed to move forward in the U.S. Senate, although supporters have vowed to take it back up.

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The Missouri bill would have also made it illegal to publish any information about a gun owner, in response to a controversy spurred by a newspaper in New York state that printed the names and addresses of numerous local residents who had firearms permits.

"This unnecessary and unconstitutional attempt to nullify federal laws would have violated Missourians' First Amendment right to free speech – while doing nothing to protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners," Nixon said in the statement. "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."

In the same statement, Nixon touted his signing of House Bill 533, which expands some gun rights, including allowing state workers to keep firearms in their cars while on state property.

Nixon made sure Missouri voters understand he is a friend of firearms, clearly trying to stave off any attacks painting him as an opponent of Second Amendment rights. "The Governor has consistently signed bills expanding the rights of gun owners in Missouri," the statement says, including by lowering the minimum age to obtain a permit to carry concealed firearms in the state.

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State House Speaker Tim Jones, a Repblican, reacted with shock to the veto and vowed to override it. The governor "generally has been an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment. I think he made a political, calculated move to veto House Bill 436," Jones said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio. "I really don't know what got to him other than special interest groups on the left."

Filed under: Gun control • Missouri
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. lerianis

    Actually, the state might not have lost challenging these laws. Restrictions on guns should be a state issue, not a federal issue and actually the Second Amendment says that ANY restrictions on the right of people to keep and bear arms, save if they are violent felons, are illegitimate and illegal.

    That the Supreme Court has said otherwise does not matter, they erred speaking as someone who usually is on the liberal side of these discussions.

    July 5, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. Karl Marx

    Roberts, Scalia n Thomas will support the Missouri law, no prob. Just need 2 more.

    July 5, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. JB

    Okay Missourians, Gov. Jay Nixon needs to be removed from office. He's complicit in subverting the 2nd amendment!

    July 5, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. Inslowmo

    Republicans have a veto proof majority in Missouri .. His veto will be easily overridden and he knows it .. He has higher aspirations and needs to suck up to the liberals as often as he can.

    July 5, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. theseconddavid

    The precedent was just set by the Supreme Court that the state's laws determine how federal laws are applied.

    July 5, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Freedom Not Feds

    Another treasonous politician attempts to thwart the will of the people who elected him to curry favor with the Washington elite. The citizens of Missouri should recall him from office. Preferably with pitchforks and torches in the middle of the night.

    July 5, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |

    Our government has forgotten all the bad things they did to build this country. This country was built on murder and mayham. I'm part native american, during the 1800's and early 1900's our so called government slaughtered Innocent Indian's women and children in there school houses and villages. I think this is just another way of them trying to control us just like they are doing to other countries. Our government needs to pay attention to what the american people want.

    July 5, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Mikemike

    So, just WHO in the state would enforce federal gun laws if Missouri passes this state law? For example, there is a gun show and no one does a background check before the sale. The federal agents who try to enforce the federal law could be arrested by the state law enforcement agency! The federal law enforcement personnel can't do all the policing themselves- they need the help of state officials/law enforcement. The enforcement of the Supremacy Clause would tie up federal officials and courts for months/years- all that with limited federal resources would defacto give the state the power to nullify many of the federal gov'ts initiatives in this and other areas.

    July 5, 2013 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  9. Critical Thinker

    Missouri Republican politicians make me laugh...dumber than rocks.

    July 6, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  10. Paul Chacho Jr.

    Tenth Amendment folks is supreme.

    July 6, 2013 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  11. MoMike

    While I'm not in favor of restricting law abiding citizens from owning firearms and actually live in Missouri, the governor was right on this one. The law would be struck down by any court due to the supremacy clause, so why waste taxpayer money to make a statement?

    July 6, 2013 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  12. mountainlady

    The law would have been overturned anyway but it is a blessing to hear a sane voice in the wilderness. Good for Governor Nixon. I'm glad there are still politicians out there that have enough courage to do what they know is right.

    July 6, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  13. J. Alexander

    Finally the powerful NRA loses one. they quote all the ways other than gun you can get killed, but you can't walk into a school, Church, or Movie theater and kill many people with rocks and they can't seem to understand why guns should be regulated. Normally it's only one lone gunman that causes grief, what if it were twenty or thirty gunman, we have groups of Americans who stockpile large amounts of weapons and one day they may use them.

    July 6, 2013 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  14. Pritka

    I am from Missouri and Governor Nixon is a brave man indeed. This state is so full of folks who don't or maybe can't think things through logically that it is embarrassing.

    July 6, 2013 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  15. ghost

    Anytime those idiots, GOP legislators, all around the country say that the othe party is doing something put a mirror in thier face and is this who you are talking about. Those red states are getting what they deserves for putting these nut cases in office. COME ON 2014 AND 2014

    July 6, 2013 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  16. @Gurgyl

    Only if you knew what you were talking about and the ramifications of such an act.

    July 6, 2013 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  17. G2

    State House Speaker Tim Jones..."I really don't know what got to him other than special interest groups on the left."

    Try common sense.

    July 6, 2013 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  18. DaveL

    Apparently Missouri is full of cowardly ignorant individuals (and that includes their legislators) who don't understand how, as a part of these United States, state law takes a backseat to federal law.

    July 6, 2013 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  19. JD

    Yep, definitely the "Show Me State"!

    July 6, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  20. Karen

    Does this make me proud to be from Missouri (veto) or embarrassed (that it had to be vetoed to start with)?? I'm so conflicted! It's hard to be a liberal in a sea of conservatives.

    July 6, 2013 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  21. TSB8C

    Oh, and while you talk about that "supremacy clause", don't forget that these proposed federal mandates violate the 10th Amendment. Not such a slam dunk if states that have adopted legislation to prevent enforcement of these federal laws take it to the SCOTUS.

    July 6, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. Dubhly

    i think the gov decided that this would lose in a SCOTUS decision and thought that financing a supreme court case would be an expense they could do without. i do not think it is the gov was leaning left, but rather to the financial side ( isnt that a repub rally cry? funny they do not like it when it makes sense, but doesnt agree with their opinions)

    July 6, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  23. Bill Wallace


    Well over 80% of Americans (Dems, Repubs and Independents) WANT reasonable gun control legislation, including background checks on all gun sales (how else are you going to tell which ones are the "good guys" and which are the "bad guys"?).

    Why doesn't the NRA accept this? Oh, yeah, profit uber alles ... I forgot"

    A question for you. Since even the Democrats have publically stated their is NO way to enforce background checks on private, person to person sales, please tell me how YOU plan to enforce them. Unless you're advocating passing another useless, unenforceable law.

    July 6, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  24. MR. JAMES

    override the veto and /or recall the gov.

    July 6, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  25. UncleJohn

    The easy solution to the problems caused when that New York paper outed gun owner names and addresses would have been for a firearm sympathetic media outlet to list the names and addresses of the people in that same area WITHOUT firearms. Imagine the howling when the pro-gun control people realize that the luxury hiding behind their armed neighbors is gone.

    July 6, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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