Why States Should Push Back On Gun Control


Since the beginning of the year, several states have responded to Washington's push for stricter gun control with bills to nullify what is perceived as an assault on Second Amendment rights. Missouri was among those states, but Democratic governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill last July because he claimed it would be against the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, which favors federal over state laws. However, thanks to bipartisanship in the State House, the Republicans are very confident they will override this veto.

And if they indeed do, then the federal government will have little recourse to enforce its gun laws other than a (federal) constitutional amendment. Indeed, despite some conservative protests, nullification is justified and is even seen by some as a tool to reject looming tyranny in the 21st century. Contrary to what Governor Nixon claims, the Missouri nullification bill does not violate the Supremacy Clause since the former is meant to protect a constitutional right violated by the federal government, namely the Second Amendment. The Supremacy Clause is usually applied in pursuance of the Constitution, for example if Missouri tried to re-enact slavery or ban women suffrage.

It has been used repeatedly in the past; the last mass use of it goes back to George W. Bush's REAL ID Act, where 25 states nullified the law. Considering the popularity of nullification among the voting population and the number of (perceived) unconstitutional federal laws, we will live to see it applied again.

Furthermore, Missouri representatives have science on their side to defend gun ownership. This latest Harvard study finds that not only are there no more homicides when there are more guns, there are actually less. This correlation holds for the U.S., but also for other industrialized nations around the world. For example, England, despite having a different way to calculate violent crime, still has a higher rate than that of the U.S. because of very strict gun laws.

In fact, more lenient gun laws, such as Stand Your Ground (SYG) or Castle Laws, should be encouraged by everyone, especially women and minorities. Indeed, states such as Florida see black people use SYG in proportions much higher than their actual percentage of the population. Women too can take advantage of a gun. Guns are rarely used in violence against them; instead, the aggressor usually uses physical force. With a gun, a woman has a higher chance of surviving such a traumatizing encounter.

For everyone's sake, let's hope that Missouri and several other states nullify those (perceived) unconstitutional assaults on gun ownership. Since criminals don't care about laws, making sure that law-abiding citizens can be armed is a sure way to protect them. After all, many historic gun massacres were perpetuated on disarmed citizens, often by governments.