Here’s the question Missouri Republicans must ask themselves before they pass whatever version of this year’s federal gun nullification law they intend to send to Gov. Jay Nixon before the Democrat vetoes it: Do they want federal law enforcement officials to properly investigate the horrific crimes carried out by Frazier Glenn Miller?
Miller is the southwest Missouri racist and anti-Semite who stands accused of killing three people at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kan. According to the Kansas City Star, federal law enforcement officials are trying to determine how he obtained the guns he’s charged with using to kill 14-year-old Reat Underwood; his 69-year-old grandfather, Dr. William Corporan; and 53-year-old Terri LaManno, a mother of three.
The Star reports that federal officials are focusing on a “straw buyer” who was able to get the guns to Miller, who as a previously convicted felon, couldn’t buy guns himself.
Let’s say some version of the Legislature’s odious “Second Amendment Preservation Act” already was law. By tracking the straw-party transactions, federal law enforcement officials would be violating its ridiculous provisions.
Here’s how that happens:
First, the law seeks to nullify “all federal acts” related to gun regulation “past, present and future.” Of course, such a move would violate clear rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court that say federal laws on such matters supersede state laws because of the Constitution’s “supremacy clause.”
Many Missouri Republicans are convinced such rulings are a federal overreach. It’s why the gun nullification law includes a long preamble taking Tenth Amendment provisions out of context. The law would make Missouri a rogue state.
Never mind that this bill, like last year’s, will be vetoed. And never mind that even if lawmakers were to override a veto, that it would be tossed out by a court. It’s important to realize exactly what lawmakers think is a good idea.
After declaring all federal gun laws invalid, the legislation — sponsored by Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, and Rep. Doug Funderburk, R-St. Peters — then creates a specific legal course of action for any person — let’s say, for example, Frazier Glenn Miller or whomever sold him his guns — to sue any representative of the government who attempts to enforce the federal laws that Missouri thinks are nullified. Oh, and the winner of the lawsuit, as long as it’s not the government, gets its legal fees paid for by the loser.
Every FBI agent, ATF agent, state and federal prosecutor and local cop working the Miller case would have to ask himself: Is it worth it to do my job if I’m going to be sued later by the criminal I’m trying to put away?
It gets worse.
Republicans — rebuffed in their silly attempt last year to actually make those law enforcement officials criminals — are now considering an amendment that would limit their future employment opportunities in the state of Missouri, as punishment for enforcing federal gun laws.
Think about this: The very Republicans who consider it an affront to their freedom to consider a cooling-off period before they cash in their state service and become lobbyists, are fine with the idea of telling an FBI agent that he can’t become a police chief because he upheld his federal oath to enforce the laws of the nation.
It gets worse still.
The only reason that Frazier Glenn Miller is a felon is because federal officials, doing their job of enforcing federal gun laws, raided his mobile home in Ozark, Mo., in the 1980s. He was charged with weapons violations that, if the ridiculously named Second Amendment Preservation Act were to become law, would no longer be criminal in the state of Missouri.
Think about that. If Missouri Republicans have their way, guys like Frazier Glenn Miller wouldn’t even be felons.
These aren’t unintended consequences that can be adjusted in committee or with an amendment or two.
When the state Republican Party decides to follow the lead of a man (Mr. Nieves) whose next big goal is to become the recorder of deeds in Franklin County, this is what happens. Words have meaning, and the words in every version of the gun nullification laws under consideration in the Missouri Legislature would make it easier for people like Frazier Glenn Miller to get away with murder. Literally.
Federal law enforcement officials would have choices to make. Do they track guns and ammunition? Do they turn the other way when they find a cache of weapons at a white supremacist’s compound? Do they care that some unnamed person on the loose participated in the crime by illegally buying the gun in the first place?
Every single day the Missouri Legislature spends debating a bill that makes it harder for law enforcement officials to do their jobs is a day they spend making it easier for criminals to do theirs.
(Excerpted from St. Louis Post Dispatch 4/21/14)