JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Friday that would have made it a Missouri crime for federal agents to attempt to enforce federal gun laws in the state and could have landed journalists in jail for publishing the names of gun owners.
The Democratic governor said the bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which generally gives preference to federal laws over conflicting state ones. He said it also infringed in the First Amendment rights of free speech and press.
Some supporters of the legislation had proclaimed it one of the most gun-friendly bills ever passed by a state legislature. Nixon, however, said it could have had extreme consequences.
"Under this bill, newspaper editors around the state that annually publish photos of proud young Missourians who harvest their first turkey or deer could be charged with a crime," the governor said in a written statement announcing the veto.
Legislators would need a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate to override Nixon's veto when they return to session in September.
The legislation would have made it a misdemeanor crime for federal agents to attempt to enforce any federal gun regulations that "infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms." It also sought to invalidate some specific federal laws, including a 1934 law that imposed on tax on transferring machine guns or silencers.
The measure would have made it a misdemeanor to publish the names of gun owners.
Other provisions in the bill would have allowed school teachers and administrators with concealed-gun permits and special training to be designated as a "school protection officer" capable of carrying hidden guns into schools.
Missouri's age to obtain a conceal-carry permit would have been lowered to 19 instead of the current 21, and the bill would have allowed people with concealed gun permits to openly carry firearms up to 16 inches long -- even in jurisdictions that have ordinances against the open display of guns.