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Missouri Senate Endorses Gun Control Nullification Bill

The Missouri Senate has given first-round approval to legislation to nullify federal gun-control laws.

The language in this year's Senate version of the Second Amendment Preservation Act has been toned down a bit.  It would still nullify federal gun restrictions in Missouri, and it would charge federal officers who try to enforce those restrictions with a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.   But language providing for armed school personnel has been changed to allow school districts to choose pepper spray instead of guns.  That provision was sponsored by state Sen. Jason Holsman, D-Kansas City.

"This amendment strikes a balance by allowing lethal and non-lethal options, and (by allowing) the parents to weigh in on that option, when the school board makes that choice," Holsman said.

The amendment was part of a compromise reached between Holsman and the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, Mo.  

"It's a perfect example of two senators, who oftentimes don't agree, being able to figure out a way to work like gentlemen and come to some sort of resolution," Nieves said.

Another amendment, sponsored by state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, would require gun owners

to police within 72 hours if someone steals their weapons. That addition was paired with another, stating that if the bill becomes law and is later ruled unconstitutional, the 72-hour period could be "severed" from the rest of the bill and remain on the books.

State Sen. Scott Sifton, D-Affton, tried twice to add language to shield state and local law officers from jail and fines if they assisted federal officers in enforcing federal gun laws. Nieves condemned that language.

"In essence, what this is doing is completely reversing everything in the bill that we're debating," Nieves said.  "This nullifies the nullification of the nullification bill…this is probably the worst possible amendment that we could look at."

Both attempts to exempt state and local officers from penalties for enforcing federal gun laws failed.  Other provisions in the bill would lower the age to get a conceal-carry permit from 21 to 19, bar medical personnel from documenting whether a patient owns a firearm, and make it a crime for someone illegally in the United States to possess a firearm within Missouri's borders.

The measure needs one more vote by the full Senate before moving to the Missouri House.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:   @MarshallGReport

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Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
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