Gun rights supporters told a Missouri Senate committee Tuesday that legislation seeking to nullify federal gun control laws was important to protect the Second Amendment, but opponents questioned whether the legislation was favoring one constitutional right over another.
The Senate General Laws Committee began a two-part hearing Tuesday on the measure that would declare certain federal gun control policies “null and void.” Agents enforcing them could spend a year in jail, be fined up to $1,000 and face other civil penalties.
Courts have consistently ruled that states cannot nullify federal laws, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying or ignoring them anyway. Last year, a federal appeals court struck down a 2009 Montana law that sought to prohibit federal regulation of guns that were manufactured in the state and remained within its borders.
But the nullification aspect of the Missouri bill didn’t garner the attention of the panel or the witnesses testifying about the legislation. Instead, a provision that would prevent health care personnel from being required to ask or document whether a patient owns a gun drew the most discussion.
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