Gun Control Debate 2013: No, Missouri Can't Just Ignore the Feds On Guns
The Missouri State Legislature has just passed a bill which would nullify federal gun control laws in Missouri. This bill originated when members of the United States Senate were looking at expanding federal gun control laws, before that legislation failed. Missouri's bill is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon, who likely won't sign it, while the Senate is meanwhile looking to revive and alter its bills. If the bill does pass through, Missouri is on its way to join Kansas in an attempt to assert a modern "nullification" of federal laws, which is, in short is the idea that states should be able to declare federal laws they disagree with illegal. It's pretty obvious that both attempts are unconstitutional. Strong Second Amendment supporters love to talk about how much they adore the Constitution, but in this event they are protecting their Constitutional rights with an unconstitutional bill.
Barring a Constitutional amendment guns are here to stay and they will always be, to some degree, regulated. We are debating the barriers. The notion that any one state can nullify federal laws if it wants to is not just potentially dangerous; it's deadly to the union as a whole. That this bill comes while debating our barriers in gun control is shamefully selfish and shortsighted; the states are interconnected. States are indeed intended to have a degree of independence from the federal government, and can provide good experimental environment to see if new laws work, but in certain areas of restriction federal law is necessarily paramount. This is one.
Chicago provides an example of how gun laws in one place can affect another. Despite Chicago's tight gun restrictions, lax restriction in other parts of Illinois and Indiana have allowed a flood of guns into the city. Chicago can't even begin to address its problems because of loose restrictions in other places. But the "if they want it they’ll get it!" brigade is already breathing down my neck.
In the wake of new gun control proposals in New Jersey, Scott Bach, an NRA board member, stated something similar: "Someone who is intent on doing evil is going to do evil regardless of whether one particular tool is available or not." Essentially, both arguments imply that because crime happens, attempts to control weapons are silly. Such logic's conclusion is that we should have no restrictions! Heck, let's have no restrictions on anything illegal because it might happen! What a stupendous idea, have fun defending it.
This bill's obvious unconstitutionality, and its lack of regard for how neighboring states may be affected, make it an unproductive, selfish waste of time. Many of the new restrictions are foolish, yes, but instead of leading the way to sectarian anarchy, states which support strong gun rights should build bodies of law which the federal government can learn from. When logical laws come about both parties typically support them, as with New Jersey's new bipartisan law which punishes straw sales. Rational legislation, and what is learned from it, is the answer, not grandstanding legislation like this.