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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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(Paul Fraughton | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kyle Crezier was one of 13 people who spoke in favor of Rep. Brian Green's HB114, which would allow local sheriffs to arrest federal agents trying to seize guns from Utah residents. Friday, February 22, 2013
Utah-style gun law shot down in Missouri. Maybe.

Remember HB114? That was the bill, sponsored by Rep. Brian Greene, that would have set aside federal gun laws in Utah in favor of our own regulations. Or conspicuous lack thereof. It passed the House, died in the Senate, and may come back again next year.

The Missouri Legislature passed a similar bill. Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it and Show Me lawmakers are pondering whether they should override.

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a few things to say about that:

Note to Missouri lawmakers: The constitution is not a Chinese buffet — St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial

T.J. McKenna should re-read his oath of office.

Mr. McKenna is a Democrat state representative from Festus who last week told Associated Press reporter David Lieb that he was prepared to cast a vote in September that he knew would violate the U.S. Constitution.

Last session, Mr. McKenna was one of 11 House Democrats and two Senate Democrats to join nearly the entire Republican delegation of the Missouri Legislature in passing House Bill 436, which seeks to nullify every federal gun law ever passed or that ever will be passed. The law would make criminals of federal agents who tried to enforce federal laws. It would legalize fully automatic machine guns in Missouri.

Besides being dangerous, stupid and frivolous, it is plainly unconstitutional, violating both the First Amendment and the Supremacy Clause, which gives priority to federal laws when they are in conflict with state laws.

That’s why Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill. It’s why even if the Legislature overrides his veto in September it will never actually become law. The courts will toss it in a New York minute, but only after the state wastes a lot of time and taxpayer dollars preparing to defend it.

Mr. McKenna knows this. Here’s what he told Mr. Lieb:

"We love our guns and we love hunting. It’s not worth the fight for me to vote against it. … The bill is completely unconstitutional, so the courts are going to have to throw it out." ...



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