Key Republican Defections Mean Missouri Will Not Secede from Union

Missouri Law Veto Override VoteMissouri Republicans appear to have failed for now in their attempt to secede from the Union. I wrote yesterday about HB 436, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of that bill, and the coming vote to overturn that veto.

That vote for the blatantly unconstitutional bill, despite support shown by a couple of hundred die-hard gun owners gathered on the Capitol lawn, failed.

Watch courtesy of ABC’s KRCG 13:

Yes, House Republicans barely managed to get HB 436 past Nixon’s veto, by a vote of 109 to 49 (with three abstentions) but in the Senate, the vote, following an hour-long debate, was 22 to 12, with two Republicans voting against overriding the veto. There are 24 Republicans in the Senate and a two-thirds majority was needed. They failed by just one vote.

Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (R-St. Charles) and Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin) were the two Republicans who voted against. Dempsey said something very unusual for a modern-day Republican: “My love of the Second Amendment doesn’t trump my love of the First Amendment.” That is not to say he won’t support another such bill that addresses his concerns. He added that, “We need to work harder on crafting the legislation.”

Gov. Nixon said at a press conference after the vote, “It’s a defining moment. Today was about protecting our economy, our communities and, especially, our schools from this costly and misguided bill.”

Yesterday brought an end – for now – to a contentious battle. Republicans positioned themselves as defenders of the Second Amendment while seeming to place more trust in the Tenth, while Democrats pointed to the Supremacy Clause, which puts federal laws above state laws.

There were other issues too, and not so minor. As Rep. Jill Schlupp (D-Creve Coeur) pointed out yesterday before the House vote, “A pedophile with a gun will be protected from having his name published” and “A drug dealer will be invisible from the public, if he owns a gun.

Republicans never seem to think about the consequences of their actions. Newspapers would not even have been able to publish photos of heroic hunters with their trophies without violating the law.

Governor Nixon and Attorney General Chris, Koster (a former Republican) had both spoken out strongly against HB 436, as had the Missouri Sheriff’s Association. And Nixon, up until this point, had been very pro-gun lobby. But the gun lobby isn’t interesting in being pro-Constitution and Nixon apparently recognized this, as the Constitution consists of more than just the Second and Tenth Amendments.

And then there is the little issue of a war we fought from 1861 to 1865 that settled the issue of where supremacy lies. Democrats, at least, remember who won that war.

Jefferson City’s News Tribune reported that Koster had sent a letter to lawmakers on September 3, pointing out that HB 436 would render cooperation between Missouri law enforcement and federal officials impossible, and Brian Nieves (R-Washington), like most Republicans when faced with uncongenial facts, responded with an ad-hominem attack, calling Koster’s letter a “smear campaign,” “a joke” and “a bunch of baloney,” and saying Koster “has lied and lied and lied.”

With reasoned counter-arguments like that at their disposal, it is difficult to see how Republicans lost the debate.

In any event, had the measure passed, the The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence said yesterday that it was prepared to file suit in federal court to stop the law from taking effect.

From the Brady Center’s press release:

“In its rush to make a political statement, the Missouri legislature has trampled on the U.S. Constitution, as well as the Missouri Constitution,” said Stuart Plunkett of Morrison & Foerster LLP, co-counsel for the Brady Center.

“The Missouri law ignores the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, and violates fundamental rights to due process and free speech. It is clearly unconstitutional.”

The petulant Nieves, a big fan of repetition, promised, “The fight ain’t over. We’ll be back to visit it again and again.” He also promised revenge against Koster, who is expected to run for governor in 2016: “The people of Missouri will remember what you did when you ask them to be their next governor.”

The people, I suspect, will also remember who not only threatened to expose them to the ravages of machine gun-toting criminals, but who tried to secede from the Union.

Eventually perhaps, and it seems to be a hard, slow, painful process, sometimes consisting of repeated sharp blows to the head, Americans will discover who truly represents their interests, and it isn’t the GOP.

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