Proposed Missouri law would nullify federal gun laws

A proposed Missouri law pokes a (trigger) finger in Congress’ face. The proposed law, known as the Missouri Firearms Freedom Act, HB 1230, was pre-filed on December 1 by Rep. Cynthis Davis of O’Fallon.

The law is a direct challenge to the authority of the US Congress and would specifically invalidate federal firearms laws. The bill, which cites the 9th, 10th & 2nd amendments, as well as the US Commerce clause, declares that the federal government has no authority to regulate the sale, transport and use of personal firearms (rifles, shotguns and handguns) which are manufactured in–and remain in–Missouri.

The logic of the bill is that many federal firearms laws are based on federal interstate commerce powers. Therefore, if a gun does not enter into interstate commerce, Congress ought to have no authority to regulate it.

That is a fair and reasonable interpretation, but one that was abandoned almost 70 years ago when the US Supreme Court–in the case of Wickard v. Filburn–held that federal laws regarding wheat farming applied to any wheat, grown anywhere in the United States, whether it was sold across state lines or not.

This applied even if the farmer ate the wheat in his own kitchen.

As silly as this sounds, the same principle means that a handgun produced [and remaining] in Missouri is deemed to be involved in interstate commerce. Obviously, passage of this proposed legislation will set up a confrontation between the federal government and some Missouri citizen bold enough to violate federal gun laws based on the new state law. Good luck to that guy.

I didn’t see any provision in the bill claiming that Missouri would in any way defend its citizens against an illegal federal prosecution.

Montana and Tennessee have passed similar laws. Here’s a CNN piece:

Many other state legislatures will likely take up a version of the Firearms Freedom Act in the coming year. Even so, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has declared such laws have no effect on federal enforcement.

The question is whether the US Supreme Court will hold to the Wickard v. Filburn interpretation of the interstate commerce clause. If the commerce clause were to be re-interpreted in a more common sense manner, it would open the door to a massive rollback of federal control over the people and the states. For more information, go to the website Firearms Freedom Act.

Missouri is #6 in ranking of most free states

Missouri Criminal Defense lawyerI often complain that the Misssouri legislature tinkers too much; always trying to fix everything and make everybody be nice to everybody and especially keeping people from drinking cold beverages when canoeing. But a new study informs us that Missouri is actually ranked number six in the U.S. for being the the MOST FREE.

The study is Freedom in the 50 states. An index of personal and economic freedom by William P. Ruger & Jason Sorens. The researchers collected data on economic and personal freedom, including:

  • taxes and spending policy, state labor regulations, health insurance mandates, occupational licensing, eminent domain, the tort system, land and environmental regulation, and utilities.
  • the right of parents to educate their own children, to own and carry firearms, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure
  • paternalistic additions to the criminal law designed to make people behave more responsibly, i.e., wear a helmet/seat belt, do not drink, smoke, drive with a cell phone, gamble or stick your arms out of a roller coaster, and so on.

Here are the best and the worst states:

Overall Freedom Ranking

1. New Hampshire (most free)
2. Colorado
3. South Dakota
4. Idaho
5. Texas
6. Missouri

. . . .

46. Maryland
47. California
48. Rhode Island
49. New Jersey
50. New York  (least free)

One interesting aspect of the study shows that politically liberal states are the least free, but the most free states tended more toward a moderate conservatism.

Here is the study summary on Missouri:

One might be forgiven for expressing surprise at Missouri’s ranking in this dataset, given the way the media have covered political misdeeds in St. Louis so extensively. Apparently, St. Louis politicians do not run Missouri; otherwise, the state would probably not rank so highly! Missouri is ninth best on economic freedom and sixth best on personal freedom. Adjusted government spending and tax revenues are both nearly a full standard deviation below the national average.

The alcohol regime is one of the least restrictive in the United States, with no blue laws and taxes well below average. Gun control is very limited. Unfortunately, marijuana sentencing is extremely harsh. Several types of gambling are allowed, but oddly there is no social gambling exception.

Other than recordkeeping requirements, private and home schools are almost unregulated. Land-use planning is decentralized. Labor laws are generally market-friendly, but right-to-work and allowing workers’ compensation self-insurance would improve Missouri’s score here. Occupational licensing is less extensive than average. Asset forfeiture has been reformed, but eminent domain really has not. Cigarette taxes are low.

All in all, I still think we can do better, but apparently we we could do a lot worse.


Red light camera tickets may become illegal in Missouri

We may score a point for freedom and privacy if Senator Jim Lembke’s Senate Bill 211 is passed. That bill would outlaw the use of “automated photo red light enforcement systems” to enforce red light violations in Missouri

This would would prevent the government from sending you a ticket in the mail accusing your car of running a red light, when the only evidence is a picture of your car taken by a computer controlled camera.

Not only is it good to see someone trying to rollback the surveillance state and the loss of freedom, but this bill is a good idea because red light cameras pose safety issues of their own. Rear-end collisions can be a problem when drivers stand on the brakes to avoid getting a ticket.

Not everyone is pleased with Senator Lembke’s bill. This week a group of Missouri police chiefs have released videos of red light accidents to highlight their support for the use of such cameras.

Click here for story.

Their views always seem one-sided, thinking only of enforcement and never about liberty and due process.

Even though this would be another law on the books, it goes against the stream. I like it.

If you want to let your Senator know how you feel about this bill, click here to send email: Senator Email