The PJ Tatler

Show Me the Nullification

Well, if this isn’t an invitation for Eric Holder to slam the state of Missouri with a lawsuit like he’s swinging the almighty hammer of Thor, I don’t know what is.

It looks like Missouri is about to order the federal government to butt out in terms of gun laws. The state legislature appears to have the votes to override the governor’s veto of a bill that nullifies all federal gun legislation, reports the New York Times. (The AP talks to several Democrats who confirm they will bow to their constituents’ wishes on the matter and vote against their party’s own governor next month.)

Democrats “bow to their constituents’ wishes”? That’s an interesting turn of phrase, given that we live in a representative republic.

The legislation not only declares federal gun laws to be null and void within the state’s borders, it actually makes it illegal for federal agents to try to enforce them. In fact, state residents would be able to sue the arresting officer. The measure also makes it illegal for journalists to print the names of gun owners, calling to mind controversies like this one.

Unfortunately, if Arizona’s border security law is any precedent, Missouri’s gun law won’t survive a court challenge. Arizona’s law really didn’t negate any federal law, in fact the state law mimicked federal law and still got gutted.

Parts of Missouri’s law, like the ban on using public records to print gun owners’ personal information, might survive. But nullifying federal laws probably won’t.