Last month Missouri state Senator Brian Nieves (R-Washington) introduced the Second Amendment Preservation Act (SB 613), a bill that seeks to nullify federal gun laws in his state. According to The Washington Times, the bill was a follow-up to a similar effort to void federal gun laws in 2013, which failed because of a veto by Governor Jay Nixon. An attempt to override the veto by both Missouri houses failed by one vote. Nieves and other supporters of SB 613 hope 2014 will bring a new result, and they plan on recruiting allies.
“We continue to see the federal government overreach their rightful bounds, and if we can create a situation where we have some unity among states, then I think it puts us in a better position to make that argument,” Nieves told the Associated Press.
In addition to nullifying federal acts, laws, executive orders and the like, SB 613 also contains language that could subject law enforcement officials to criminal penalties for carrying out these policies. It is a controversial move similar to a law passed in Kansas last year that exempts firearms made in that state from federal regulation. The law’s passage prompted U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to send a strongly-worded letter to Kansas Governor Sam Brownback. In the letter, Holder criticized the law for criminalizing the actions of federal officers, concluding the law was “unconstitutional.”
Now, it appears the bill sponsored by Nieves is drawing similar attention. Not all are critics, however, and some lawmakers in other states find themselves agreeing with the ideas behind the bill.
“The idea is that if you’re standing alone against a federal law, then you’re not as likely to have success than if you’re standing with other states,” said Arkansas Representative Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville).
SB 613 has an effective date of 2017 if passed, but its supporters are counting on at least four other states to pass similar measures, which could lead to the Act taking effect sooner. Opponents of the bill in Missouri and elsewhere say it is unlikely for SB 613 to have much of an effect even if passed.