As we've reported, Missouri lawmakers are aggressively pushing forward with their effort to make it illegal to enforce any federal firearm laws in the state with a proposal that Republican supporters say is a bold statement against gun control. Critics say it's an absurd, unconstitutional move to ban the enforcement of commonsense policies to reduce gun violence.
State Representative Casey Guernsey, a Republican lawmaker behind one of these pro-gun bills -- and there are many -- tells Daily RFT that the criticisms from the left are misguided and that his proposal to block gun control would hold up.
"Just because President Obama has declared that something is constitutional doesn't make it so," he says.
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As we've reported, Guernsey's House Bill 170 would make it a felony to enforce gun control measures of the Obama administration. It passed out of the House last week and yesterday in the Senate had a public hearing and received a yes vote in executive session.
It's one of many.
House Bill 436, the so-called Second Amendment Preservation Act, rejects all federal acts that infringe on the right to bear arms and has moved forward in the last two weeks as well.
One of the main arguments against these bills -- in addition to opponents' view that federal gun laws are important safety measures -- is that it's just not constitutional for Missouri to pass laws that throw out federal ones. The legislature has struggled with this in the past in the case of its now-rejected anti-Obamacare law.
"I'm optimistic," Guernsey tells us. "It's pretty obvious.... So many supported this bill in the House."
Of the bill's opponents, he says, "We just have a very different view of the Constitution. If you read the Second Amendment...we do have defined rights."
Democratic opponents in the legislature argue that it's a clear attempt at nullification -- and wouldn't hold up in court.
Guernsey says he's never received such wide support for any proposal from constituents in his district and across the state.
"Every day, I hear [from people who are] grateful we have taken this action," he says. "It's our responsibility whenever the federal government takes unconstitutional actions like this.... It's not the least bit surprising to see this level of support."
And would he expect lawsuits if this actually passed?
He notes that other states have passed similar measures, and adds, "I don't think you can put a dollar amount on the value of constitutional rights. If that's what it takes to defend those, it's well worth our time."