by Christina Turner, Jessica Mensch, Taylor Beck, Hanna Battah and John Zupon
Missouri’s Senate gave first-round approval Tuesday, Feb. 11, to a bill that declares invalid any federal law restricting firearms rights in Missouri that violate the U.S. Constitution.
The bill would make it a misdemeanor crime for a federal government employee to enforce any “infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.”
The Senate measure declares that any federal law that infringes on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment rights on firearms “shall not be recognized by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.”
The measure would establish a right to file a lawsuit against a person enforcing a violation of those rights.
Final approval of the measure was delayed after the National Rifle Association raised objections to an amendment that would require a person to report when a firearm had been stolen.
In a statement posted on its website, the NRA referenced the amendment Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis City, tacked onto the proposal Tuesday night. It called the amendment an “anti-gun provision.”
Nasheed said her amendment was only meant to keep gun owners accountable for stolen property and help law enforcement agencies do their job.
“It’s really unfortunate to have the National Rifle Association against a simple amendment,” Nasheed said in response to the NRA press release. “I’m not ‘anti-gun. I have a CCW, and I own guns.”
The NRA argued the change is unfair to gun owners and makes them a victim twice. The statement read, “victims of gun theft should not be punished further by being prosecuted for such a ‘crime.’ Police resources should be focused on finding the real criminals responsible, not further victimizing those who have had not only their belongings stolen, but their sense of security and privacy as well.”
The bill’s sponsor – Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Franklin County – criticized the NRA for misrepresenting the amendment. Nieves noted that Nasheed’s amendment imposed no penalty for failing to report the theft of a firearm.
“I can live with it, I wouldn’t raise it on a flag pole and say it’s the greatest thing I have ever seen, but I can live with it,” Nieves said.
Nasheed attacked the NRA in harsher language.
“They’re bullies,” Nasheed said. “I think they’re trying to bully Sen. Nieves. They probably don’t like his overall bill and they’re using my amendment to attack the overall bill.”
The original bill aims to make federal gun laws unenforceable in Missouri. The Senate approved the measure Tuesday night, but it must survive another Senate vote before it can make it to the House floor.