On Foxnews.com, there is a piece entitled “Missouri poised to enact measure nullifying federal gun laws.” The piece asserts that, “A recent Associated Press analysis found that about four-fifths of the states have enacted local laws that directly reject or ignore federal laws on gun control, marijuana use, health insurance requirements and identification standards for driver’s licenses.” It also asserts that one of the boldest of these is Missouri’s vetoed legislation that expands gun rights and makes federal gun regulation unenforceable. The piece concludes that Governor Nixon’s veto of the legislation will almost certainly be overridden despite a consensus that the law will be declared unconstitutional.
So why is it that, even though a vast majority of law makers believe the law is unconstitutional, two-thirds of both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate will vote to override? The article quotes several stating that it would be political suicide to vote against pro-gun legislation in Missouri. So is this a useless act? Is this an act all for show? That depends on the courage and character of our state elected officials. But they must have the fortitude to stand on principle.
The most interesting quote from the piece is a quote from state Representative Jay Barnes, the only Republican to vote against the bill. According to Foxnews.com: “Our Constitution is not a Chinese buffet, which we like and do not like,” the Jefferson City attorney told the AP. “The First Amendment is part of the Constitution that we must uphold. … (And) the supremacy clause means that states cannot criminalize the activities of agents of the federal government.” It appears that it is the federal government that is treating the Constitution as a Chinese buffet, selecting which portions of the Constitution it will respect and which it won’t. One might ask Rep. Barnes how he might respond to a federal act authorizing federal agents to enter into the homes of all Jefferson City attorneys without probable cause and without a warrant. Last time I checked, the Constitution only granted supremacy to federal acts that are made in pursuance of the Constitution. Last time I checked, I believe the Second Amendment recognized the right of all citizens to bear arms without limitation. If a federal act violates the Constitution, it is not made in pursuance thereof, and it is the duty of the states to recognize the violation and reject the act.
There is sovereignty in state governments. The states were recognized in the Declaration of Independence as on an equal status as the “state” of Great Britain. The states are the parties to the U.S. Constitution. The federal government was created by the states. The federal government is the servant of the states. One might also ask Rep. Barnes how he would react to the federal servant disbanding the fifty states and reserving all residual authority to itself.
Will the federal servant court system declare the acts of Missouri defending the Second Amendment unconstitutional? Likely. They have power and authority to protect. But this is a servant that has run amuck. They can justify any usurpation of authority because there is no authority to challenge them. The masters have allowed the servant to get carried away. There is a great old parable about this kind of conduct.
9 And he began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while. 10 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, so that they would give him some of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenants beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 11 And he sent another servant. But they also beat and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. 12 And he sent yet a third. This one also they wounded and cast out. 13 Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son; perhaps they will respect him.’ 14 But when the tenants saw him, they said to themselves, ‘This is the heir. Let us kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 And they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them? 16 He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others. Luke 20.
The only way for the states to take back their authority is to exercise it.
Will the federal servant court system declare the acts of Missouri defending the Second Amendment unconstitutional? Likely. But the federal servant system should take care. If four-fifths of the states are undertaking such actions, there is political sentiment growing against the tenants of the vineyard. These types of events occurred more than two hundred twenty-five years ago. The situation was recorded for all to remember. “In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.” What did the free people do in response? The answer is recorded in the same legal pleading. “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . . .” Missouri’s actions may be rejected. They may be declared unconstitutional. But they are part of the course of history, declaring in petition form for posterity the grievances of the states.