If passed into law, HB436 would nullify all federal acts violating the Second Amendment. Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill after it overwhelmingly passed both houses of the Missouri legislature. Lawmakers will consider overriding the veto as early as Sept. 11. (ACTION ITEMS TO OVERRIDE VETO BELOW)
Nullification opponents have ratcheted up pressure over the last few weeks, trotting out federal supremacists in academia and the media to parrot the predictable fallacious arguments asserting the “supremacy clause” grants the federal government unconditional authority to do whatever it wants.
But last week, those hoping the state would still do its duty and protect Missourians’ right to keep and bear arms from federal infringement found themselves facing a new foe – law enforcement.
Over the last two weeks, organizations representing state and local law enforcement have come out claiming the new law would prevent them from working with federal authorities on any investigations that might involve firearms, promising passage of the bill will lead to bloody chaos in the Missouri streets. St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch wrote a letter to House Speaker Tim Jones with great concern that HB436:
“would hinder local law enforcement’s ability to enforce existing laws.”
Yes. Exactly. That sums up the purpose of the bill – block law enforcement in the state from enforcing federal gun laws, that violate the Second Amendment.
His letter continues:
“The men and women of the St. Louis County’s Police Department work every day with our federal partners to enforce these laws. Section 5 and 7 will cause us to disband our local task forces, which have a real impact on violent crime in our community”
The implication here? Unless St Louis police continues to help the federal government violate the Second Amendment every single day, your life could be in danger.
This is a propaganda scare-tactic of the worst kind.
Other law enforcement organizations, including the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, have taken a similar position. to pressure lawmakers into backing away from a veto override. Missouri Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Ahlbrand said HB436 would halt 90 percent of joint local-federal investigations.
“Certainly drug investigations, certainly violent offender investigations, and certainly Boston bombing investigations. There were guns involved in that,” he said.
Anybody exercising an ounce of common sense recognizes Ahlbrand’s statement drips with hyperbole. These law enforcement bureaucrats make a ludicrous assertion. HB436 would do nothing to stop state and local police from investigating violent crime or even gun laws.
The legislation has NO impact on state murder laws, or laws against a “Boston bombing” – laws that would remain fully in force.
If state and local law enforcement wants to request federal assistance to investigate those types of crimes, nothing stops them from doing so. It would simply prevent them from enforcing unconstitutional federal gun laws. If somebody commits a crime with a gun, police would retain all authority to investigate and prosecute that crime.
THE MONEY TRAIL
As with most things political, law enforcement organizations must have some agenda beyond their public statements. As the old saying goes, simply follow the money.
We recently witnessed a similar state and local law enforcement panic attack when the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not challenge new laws in Washington and Colorado legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Huffington Post columnist Ryan Grim hit the nail on the head when he analyzed the panicked reaction. State and local police have their snouts buried up to their eyeballs in the federal feed trough.
“Local law enforcement agencies rely heavily on the drug war for funding. Police departments are often able to keep a large portion of the assets they seize during drug raids, even if charges are never brought. And federal grants for drug war operations make up a sizable portion of local law enforcement funding.”
So, while HB436 would do nothing to hinder prosecution of dangerous criminals, it might put a crimp in the flow of funds going to state and local law enforcement, because Missouri cops don’t cash in when enforcing state law. Art. IX Sec. 7 of the Missouri Constitution requires proceeds from confiscation of assets connected with state law to go to school funding.
But if police charge suspect under federal law, the local law-enforcement agency gets an up to 80 percent cut of the assets collected.
According to a Report from the Institute of Justice, Missouri law enforcement cashed in to the tune of $34,462,153 in forfeiture from 2001 to 2008. They ONLY get this money if they do the bidding of the federal government.
“A key incentive to continued use of forfeiture in Missouri may be federal equitable sharing. After an investigative report in the Kansas City Star, Missouri lawmakers were awakened to a major problem that plagues other states that limit the ability of law enforcement to profit from forfeiture: federal adoption of forfeiture proceedings and equitable sharing arrangements. By 1999, more than 85 percent of forfeited property was funneled through this loophole.”
Making matters worse, in 2011 Missouri auditor Thomas A. Schweich found not a single law enforcement agency submitted an independently audited report of money received through participation in federal forfeiture programs, as required by the law.
Essentially, it appears Missouri state and local law enforcement bureaucrats value funding for militarizing their forces more than they do protecting basic rights of Missouri citizens. Cops get battle armor, military grade weapons and tanks, but no protection of gun rights for the people.
This digs down to an even deeper issue.
The Constitution reserves the vast amount of few police powers to the states, not the federal government. Police powers were always closely guarded by the states and remain almost exclusively their domain under the Constitution. In fact, most of the federal “cooperation” these police bureaucrats talk about represents unconstitutional federal overreach. The feds have intertwined themselves so much into the affairs of the states, law enforcement claim they can no longer function without them. Essentially, these Missouri cops admit that they have become mere extensions of federal power.
Sadly, state and local law enforcement bureaucrats appear willing to sell out the Constitution and the Second Amendment for a few dollars and some military hardware. State lawmakers should ignore these panicked cries and get on with their duty – protecting the most basic rights of the people who elected them.
The big question: Will Missouri Republicans have the spine to stand up for the Constitution? The answer is coming soon.
Missouri residents, your action is needed today. Not next week. Right now!
1. Call your state rep. A phone call, not an email, is what’s needed. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to OVERRIDE THE VETO on HB436.
2. Call your state senator. Again, a phone call is needed to ramp up the pressure. Strongly, but respectfully, urge them to OVERRIDE THE VETO on HB436.
3. Attend the rally on Wednesday. A BIG show of support is needed to help override the veto.