Guns: Will Missouri Legislature Make it Illegal to Enforce Federal Firearm Laws?


Rep. Casey Guernsey. - VIA FACEBOOK

Legislators in Jefferson City are one step closer to passing a bill that would make it a criminal act to enforce any federal firearm laws in Missouri. The House successfully passed HB170 on Wednesday, and the bill is now being debated in the Senate with a hearing scheduled next week.

This anti-gun control bill would certainly not be the first proposal Missouri Republicans passed and signed into law aimed directly at blocking federal policy. But given the heated gun debates nationally and in Missouri, it would be especially noteworthy if this one makes it to the governor's desk.

Missouri Democrats say they are outraged.

"I don't know when this ends," State Rep. Rory Ellinger tells Daily RFT. "When every human being is forced to carry a gun?"

In the final stretch of the legislative session, lawmakers are competing to get their proposals heard and debated on the floor and for Democratic legislators, it's become frustrating that the pro-gun efforts are dominating the Capitol.

"There's a sizable percentage of Missourians that want more gun control," says Ellinger, who represents University City and got a lot of attention earlier this session for his assault weapon ban proposal that would've made it a felony to manufacture, import, possess or sell an assault weapon or large capacity magazine. "It's the rational, commonsense approach."

Rep. Rory Ellinger. - VIA
  • via
  • Rep. Rory Ellinger.

House Bill 170 comes from Rep. Casey Guernsey, who we interviewed back in January. He told us at the time:

My position is pretty straightforward. Anything more that limits law-abiding Missouri citizens' ability to keep and bear arms and take advantage of their basic constitutional rights is a major concern for me. There are plenty of laws on the books as it relates to gun crimes.... If those laws were enforced, we'd all be much better off.

He recently tweeted out:

In the draft that the House passed this week, his bill says:

It shall be unlawful for any officer or employee of this state, or any political subdivision, or any federal firearms enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law, statute, rule, or regulation of the federal government created or effective on or after January 1, 2013, relating to a personal firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in the state of Missouri and that remains exclusively within the boundaries of the state of Missouri.

Continue for more details on the bill and commentary from Rep. Ellinger.

Any person who enforced -- or attempted to enforce -- federal gun laws would be guilty of a class D felony in Guernsey's bill. The legislation also empowers citizens who face this enforcement to request that the attorney general defend them.

Rep. Casey Guernsey - VIA FACEBOOK

Federal policies that would not be allowed in Missouri include any bans or restrictions on ownership of firearms or magazines as well requirements that firearms, magazines or accessories be registered in any manner.

It won't hold up, Ellinger argues.

"They are challenging the supremacy clause of the Constitution," he says. "It's already been settled."

It's an absurd attempt at nullification, he says.

"There is such a thing as the Second Amendment, which we have to respect, but it didn't say their couldn't be any controls on gun ownership," he adds.

Daily RFT left a message with Guernsey's office yesterday to see if he wanted to comment further. The bill has a scheduled hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.

Here's the latest draft in full.

House Bill 170

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.