Attorney General Koster outlines stance against gun bill

Posted September 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

by Brendan Cullerton

Attorney General Chris Koster sent a letter to the entire Missouri General Assembly Sept. 3 opposing a bill that would prevent the enforcement of certain federal gun laws in Missouri.

The measure, vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, states that any federal acts, “whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution” will not be recognized by the state of Missouri.

Koster, a Democrat, said while he agrees with some of the issues the bill addresses, he ultimately cannot support a bill that puts so much tension between state and federal law enforcement officers.

Two of the more controversial acts included are the Federal Gun Control Acts of 1934 and 1968. The bill would not only nullify these laws, it would allow the prosecution as a class A misdemeanor of any state or federal officials who attempt to enforce federal firearm laws.

The federal Gun Control Act of 1934 requires machine guns, sawed-off rifles and sawed-off shotguns to be taxed and registered with the U.S. Department of Treasury. If Nixon’s veto were overturned, these requirements would no longer apply in Missouri.

“When a police officer in the City of St. Louis recovers a fully automatic machine gun from a drug dealer’s car, should the matter no longer be sent to the U.S Attorney’s Office because the federal Gun Control Act of 1934 outlawed the weapon,” Koster said in his letter.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, also released a statement Sept. 3 denouncing Koster’s letter.

“I am disappointed that our Attorney General has again opted to regurgitate the governor’s talking points rather than stand with a bipartisan super-majority in the House and Senate in defense of the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Missourians,” Jones said.

The bill passed with a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate this year. The veto session starts Sept. 11.