Laughing Stock

Jewish Light Editorial

If the attention Missouri is getting for its legislative insanity on guns weren’t so depressing, it might actually be funny.

Instead, as Missouri legislators put phantom United States Constitution Second Amendment issues ahead of public safety, and demonstrate less civics knowledge than high school freshmen, they embarrass all of us in the national eye.

The legislature is attempting to override a veto from Governor Jay Nixon of a bill that purports to nullify United States gun laws as applied to Missouri. This effort caught the attention of the editorial board of the New York Times, which skewered its absurdity in an editorial last week.

“This bizarre legislation, which Republican majorities hope to enact Sept. 11, would override an earlier veto by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, who noted the obvious fact that the measure is unconstitutional according to precedents stretching all the way to the Civil War.”

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The seemingly obvious overreach of the bill — among other things, it would make federal agents attempting to enforce U.S. gun laws in Missouri subject to arrest — was even apparent to one Republican state legislator, State Rep. Jay Barnes, who in another story in the Times said, “Our Constitution is not some cheap Chinese buffet where we get to pick the parts we like and ignore the rest.” He added, “Two centuries of constitutional jurisprudence shows that this bill is plainly unconstitutional, and I’m not going to violate my oath of office.”

Incredibly, Barnes was the only member of his party in the House to vote against the bill. This isn’t a one-party issue, either, as 11 House and two Senate Democrats voted in favor. At least one House Democrat will have to vote aye for the veto override to succeed.

Beyond the time and resource-wasting impact of the veto override effort, however, is the big lie its supporters are telling, namely, that gun ownership and use are being threatened under either federal or Missouri law.

As gun deaths pile up, gun rights supporters have turned a blind eye to the role that these weapons play in violent deaths in America. The majority of both homicides and suicides in this nation continues to result from discharged firearms. Gun-related deaths each year in America hover around the 30,000 mark, more than one out of every hundred deaths each year, and in some years result in as many as roughly 7 percent of premature fatalities.

Despite these numbers, it remains perfectly lawful to have a permitted gun at home and to carry on a concealed basis. In fact, with the action of the Illinois legislature earlier this year, concealed carry is now the law of the land in every single state of the Union.

Yet gun proponents would have you believe that their rights are somehow under assault, and they have President Barack Obama tailored as the enemy of all gun owners. It is a clever public relations ploy, especially when one considers there was no  serious effort by the administration to impose further restrictions on guns until after the Newtown, Conn. disaster in December, which followed the obscene movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo. In fact, Obama was given terrible report cards prior to those events by gun control advocates for being seriously remiss in promoting tighter conditions to ownership and use.

The Missouri legislators are glad to jump right onto the bandwagon, expecting you to feel concerned for the poor, beleaguered gun owner. Yet their hypocrisy is particularly notable — they gladly and incessantly rely on the federal Second Amendment right to bear arms, but are happy to nullify any other federal authority if it suits their needs.

The politicians behind this despicable effort in Jefferson City think that they can pick and choose when its most convenient to be part of the American republic. They’ve previously precluded the state from reaping the full benefits of the Affordable Care Act.

Now they’re happy to play pick-and-choose with the U.S. Constitution, trying to nullify authority of the same Constitution that enumerates gun protections in the first place.

We find this conduct not only disingenuous, but an embarrassment to our state, and worst of all, a selfish betrayal and disrespect of the many rights, benefits and protections that the federal government affords Missourians.